Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


DRSM: De-Randomized Smoothing on Malware Classifier Providing Certified Robustness

Shoumik Saha · Wenxiao Wang · Yigitcan Kaya · Soheil Feizi · Tudor Dumitras

Halle B #113
[ ] [ Project Page ]
Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT

Abstract: Machine Learning (ML) models have been utilized for malware detection for over two decades. Consequently, this ignited an ongoing arms race between malware authors and antivirus systems, compelling researchers to propose defenses for malware-detection models against evasion attacks. However, most if not all existing defenses against evasion attacks suffer from sizable performance degradation and/or can defend against only specific attacks, which makes them less practical in real-world settings. In this work, we develop a certified defense, DRSM (De-Randomized Smoothed MalConv), by redesigning the *de-randomized smoothing* technique for the domain of malware detection. Specifically, we propose a *window ablation* scheme to provably limit the impact of adversarial bytes while maximally preserving local structures of the executables. After showing how DRSM is theoretically robust against attacks with contiguous adversarial bytes, we verify its performance and certified robustness experimentally, where we observe only marginal accuracy drops as the cost of robustness. To our knowledge, we are the first to offer certified robustness in the realm of static detection of malware executables. More surprisingly, through evaluating DRSM against $9$ empirical attacks of different types, we observe that the proposed defense is empirically robust to some extent against a diverse set of attacks, some of which even fall out of the scope of its original threat model. In addition, we collected $15.5K$ recent benign raw executables from diverse sources, which will be made public as a dataset called PACE (Publicly Accessible Collection(s) of Executables) to alleviate the scarcity of publicly available benign datasets for studying malware detection and provide future research with more representative data of the time. Our code and dataset are available at -

Chat is not available.