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Title: A cloud-based intelligent and energy efficient malware detection framework : a framework for cloud-based, energy efficient, and reliable malware detection in real-time based on training SVM, decision tree, and boosting using specified heuristics anomalies of portable executable files
Author: Mirza, Qublai K. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 6792
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2017
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The continuity in the financial and other related losses due to cyber-attacks prove the substantial growth of malware and their lethal proliferation techniques. Every successful malware attack highlights the weaknesses in the defence mechanisms responsible for securing the targeted computer or a network. The recent cyber-attacks reveal the presence of sophistication and intelligence in malware behaviour having the ability to conceal their code and operate within the system autonomously. The conventional detection mechanisms not only possess the scarcity in malware detection capabilities, they consume a large amount of resources while scanning for malicious entities in the system. Many recent reports have highlighted this issue along with the challenges faced by the alternate solutions and studies conducted in the same area. There is an unprecedented need of a resilient and autonomous solution that takes proactive approach against modern malware with stealth behaviour. This thesis proposes a multi-aspect solution comprising of an intelligent malware detection framework and an energy efficient hosting model. The malware detection framework is a combination of conventional and novel malware detection techniques. The proposed framework incorporates comprehensive feature heuristics of files generated by a bespoke static feature extraction tool. These comprehensive heuristics are used to train the machine learning algorithms; Support Vector Machine, Decision Tree, and Boosting to differentiate between clean and malicious files. Both these techniques; feature heuristics and machine learning are combined to form a two-factor detection mechanism. This thesis also presents a cloud-based energy efficient and scalable hosting model, which combines multiple infrastructure components of Amazon Web Services to host the malware detection framework. This hosting model presents a client-server architecture, where client is a lightweight service running on the host machine and server is based on the cloud. The proposed framework and the hosting model were evaluated individually and combined by specifically designed experiments using separate repositories of clean and malicious files. The experiments were designed to evaluate the malware detection capabilities and energy efficiency while operating within a system. The proposed malware detection framework and the hosting model showed significant improvement in malware detection while consuming quite low CPU resources during the operation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Malware detection ; File heuristics ; Support vector machine (SVM) ; Decision tree ; Boosting ; Cloud computing ; Energy efficiency ; Real-time detection ; Automated static analysis ; Portable executable (PE)