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  1. Malicious software (malware) is a major cyber threat that has to be tackled with Machine Learning (ML) techniques because millions of new malware examples are injected into cyberspace on a daily basis. However, ML is vulnerable to attacks known as adversarial examples. In this article, we survey and systematize the field of Adversarial Malware Detection (AMD) through the lens of a unified conceptual framework of assumptions, attacks, defenses, and security properties. This not only leads us to map attacks and defenses to partial order structures, but also allows us to clearly describe the attack-defense arms race in the AMD context.more »We draw a number of insights, including: knowing the defender’s feature set is critical to the success of transfer attacks; the effectiveness of practical evasion attacks largely depends on the attacker’s freedom in conducting manipulations in the problem space; knowing the attacker’s manipulation set is critical to the defender’s success; and the effectiveness of adversarial training depends on the defender’s capability in identifying the most powerful attack. We also discuss a number of future research directions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 31, 2024
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  7. Detecting software vulnerabilities is an important problem and a recent development in tackling the problem is the use of deep learning models to detect software vulnerabilities. While effective, it is hard to explain why a deep learning model predicts a piece of code as vulnerable or not because of the black-box nature of deep learning models. Indeed, the interpretability of deep learning models is a daunting open problem. In this article, we make a significant step toward tackling the interpretability of deep learning model in vulnerability detection. Specifically, we introduce a high-fidelity explanation framework, which aims to identify a smallmore »number of tokens that make significant contributions to a detector’s prediction with respect to an example. Systematic experiments show that the framework indeed has a higher fidelity than existing methods, especially when features are not independent of each other (which often occurs in the real world). In particular, the framework can produce some vulnerability rules that can be understood by domain experts for accepting a detector’s outputs (i.e., true positives) or rejecting a detector’s outputs (i.e., false-positives and false-negatives). We also discuss limitations of the present study, which indicate interesting open problems for future research.« less