Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science


Digital security is an important issue today, and efficient malware detection is at the forefront of research into building secure digital systems. As with many other fields, malware detection research has seen a dramatic increase in the application of machine learning algorithms. One machine learning technique that has found widespread application in the field of pattern matching and malware detection is hidden Markov models (HMMs). Since HMM training is a hill climb technique, we can often significantly improve a model by training multiple times with different initial values. In this research, we compare boosted HMMs (using AdaBoost) to HMMs trained with multiple random restarts, in the context of malware detection. These techniques are applied to a variety of challenging malware datasets and we analyze the results in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.