Publication Date

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Mark Stamp

Second Advisor

Thomas Austin

Third Advisor

Philip Heller


Malware model, CNN, image HMM, SVM


Automatically classifying similar malware families is a challenging problem. In this research, we attempt to classify malware families by applying machine learning to machine learning models. Specifically, we train hidden Markov models (HMM) for each malware family in our dataset. The resulting models are then compared in two ways. First, we treat the HMM matrices as images and experiment with convolutional neural networks (CNN) for image classification. Second, we apply support vector machines (SVM) to classify the HMMs. We analyze the results and discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of each approach.