Query-efficient black-box attack against sequence-based malware classifiers

Ishai Rosenberg, Asaf Shabtai, Yuval Elovici, Lior Rokach

Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, 611-626, 2020

In this paper, we present a generic, query-efficient black-box attack against API call-based machine learning malware classifiers. We generate adversarial examples by modifying the malware’s API call sequences and non-sequential features (printable strings), and these adversarial examples will be misclassified by the target malware classifier without affecting the malware’s functionality. In contrast to previous studies, our attack minimizes the number of malware classifier queries required. In addition, in our attack, the attacker must only know the class predicted by the malware classifier; attacker knowledge of the malware classifier’s confidence score is optional. We evaluate the attack effectiveness when attacks are performed against a variety of malware classifier architectures, including recurrent neural network (RNN) variants, deep neural networks, support vector machines, and gradient boosted decision trees …