Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Mark Stamp

Second Advisor

Navrati Saxena

Third Advisor

Fabio Di Troia


image based malware detection, deep fakes, AC-GAN


A generative adversarial network (GAN) is a powerful machine learning concept where both a generative and discriminative model are trained simultaneously. A recent trend in malware research consists of treating executables as images and employing image-based analysis techniques. In this research, we generate fake malware images using GANs, and we also consider the effectiveness of GANs for malware classification. Specifically, we consider auxiliary classifier GAN (AC-GAN), which enables us to work with multiclass data. We find that AC-GAN generates malware images that cannot be reliably distinguished from real malware images. In addition, we find that the detection capabilities of AC-GAN exceeds other image-based techniques that have appeared in the literature.