Conference paper

MalGraph: Hierarchical Graph Neural Networks for Robust Windows Malware Detection

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With the ever-increasing malware threats, malware detection plays an indispensable role in protecting information systems. Although tremendous research efforts have been made, there are still two key challenges hindering them from being applied to accurately and robustly detect malwares. Firstly, most of them represent executables with shallow features, but ignore their semantic and structural information. Secondly, they are primarily based on representations that can be easily modified by attackers and thus cannot provide robustness against adversarial attacks. To tackle the challenges, we present MalGraph, which first represents executables with hierarchical graphs and then uses an end-to-end learning framework based on graph neural networks for malware detection. In particular, a hierarchical graph consists of a function call graph that captures the interaction semantics among different functions at the inter-function level and corresponding control-flow graphs for learning the structural semantics of each function at the intra-function level. We argue the abstraction and hierarchy nature of hierarchical graphs makes them not only easy to capture rich structural information of executables, but also be immune to adversarial attacks. Evaluations show that MalGraph not only outperforms state-of-the-art malware detection, but also exhibits stronger robustness against adversarial attacks by a large margin.