Why an Android App is Classified as Malware: Toward Malware Classification Interpretation
Publication in refereed journal


摘要Machine learning–(ML) based approach is considered as one of the most promising techniques for Android malware detection and has achieved high accuracy by leveraging commonly used features. In practice, most of the ML classifications only provide a binary label to mobile users and app security analysts. However, stakeholders are more interested in the reason why apps are classified as malicious in both academia and industry. This belongs to the research area of interpretable ML but in a specific research domain (i.e., mobile malware detection). Although several interpretable ML methods have been exhibited to explain the final classification results in many cutting-edge Artificial Intelligent–based research fields, until now, there is no study interpreting why an app is classified as malware or unveiling the domain-specific challenges.

In this article, to fill this gap, we propose a novel and interpretable ML-based approach (named XMal) to classify malware with high accuracy and explain the classification result meanwhile. (1) The first classification phase of XMal hinges multi-layer perceptron and attention mechanism and also pinpoints the key features most related to the classification result. (2) The second interpreting phase aims at automatically producing neural language descriptions to interpret the core malicious behaviors within apps. We evaluate the behavior description results by leveraging a human study and an in-depth quantitative analysis. Moreover, we further compare XMal with the existing interpretable ML-based methods (i.e., Drebin and LIME) to demonstrate the effectiveness of XMal. We find that XMal is able to reveal the malicious behaviors more accurately. Additionally, our experiments show that XMal can also interpret the reason why some samples are misclassified by ML classifiers. Our study peeks into the interpretable ML through the research of Android malware detection and analysis.
著者Bozhi Wu, Sen Chen, Cuiyun Gao, Lingling Fan, Yang Liu, Weiping Wen, Michael R. Lyu
期刊名稱ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology
頁次1 - 29

上次更新時間 2021-01-08 於 00:04