Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2006

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science - (M.S.)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Constantine N. Manikopoulos

Second Advisor

Robert Statica

Third Advisor

Jie Hu

Fourth Advisor

Cristian Borcea


A malicious executable is broadly defined as any program or piece of code designed to cause damage to a system or the information it contains, or to prevent the system from being used in a normal manner. A generic term used to describe any kind of malicious software is Maiware, which includes Viruses, Worms, Trojans, Backdoors, Root-kits, Spyware and Exploits. Anomaly detection is technique which builds a statistical profile of the normal and malicious data and classifies unseen data based on these two profiles.

A detection system is presented here which is anomaly based and focuses on the Windows® platform. Several file infection techniques were studied to understand what particular features in the executable binary are more susceptible to being used for the malicious code propagation. A framework is presented for collecting data for both static (non-execution based) as well as dynamic (execution based) analysis of the malicious executables. Two specific features are extracted using static analysis, Windows API (from the Import Address Table of the Portable Executable Header) and the hex byte frequency count (collected using Hexdump utility) which have been explained in detail. Dynamic analysis features which were extracted are briefly mentioned and the major challenges faced using this data is explained. Classification results using Support Vector Machines for anomaly detection is shown for the two static analysis features. Experimental results have provided classification results with up to 94% accuracy for new, previously unseen executables.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.