Academy & Industry Research Collaboration Center (AIRCC)

Volume 11, Number 01, January 2021

Convolutional Neural Network for Malware Classification Based on API Call Sequence


Matthew Schofield, Gulsum Alicioglu, Russell Binaco, Paul Turner, Cameron Thatcher, Alex Lam and Bo Sun, Rowan University, USA


Malicious software is constantly being developed and improved, so detection and classification of malicious applications is an ever-evolving problem. Since traditional malware detection techniques fail to detect new or unknown malware, machine learning algorithms have been used to overcome this disadvantage. We present a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) for malware type classification based on the Windows system API (Application Program Interface) calls. This research uses a database of 5385 instances of API call streams labeled with eight types of malware of the source malicious application. We use a 1-Dimensional CNN by mapping API call streams as categorical and term frequency-inverse document frequency (TF-IDF) vectors respectively. We achieved accuracy scores of 98.17% using TF-IDF vector and 95.40% via categorical vector. The proposed 1-D CNN outperformed other traditional classification techniques with overall accuracy score of 91.0%.


Convolutional Neural Network, Malware Classification, Windows API Calls, Term FrequencyInverse Document Frequency Vectors.