Deep Hashing for Malware Family Classification and New Malware Identification

Yunchun Zhang, Zikun Liao, Ning Zhang, Shaohui Min, Qi Wang, Tony Q.S. Quek, Mingxiong Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although numerous state-of-the-art deep neural networks have recently been proposed for malware classification, effectively detecting malware on a large-scale sample set and identifying zero-day or new malware variants still pose significant challenges. To address this issue, a deep hashing-based malware classification model is designed for malware identification, including two parts: ResNet50-based deep hashing for malware retrieval and voting-based malware classification. Specifically, multiple deep hashing models are developed by extracting the high-layer outputs (feature maps) from the ResNet50 trained with malware gray-scale images in the first part. In this case, to maximize the Hamming distance or dissimilarity among hash values computed with malware samples under different families, a ResNet50-based deep polarized network (RNDPN) is designed to return Top K similar samples. In the second part, we propose a majority-voting and a Hamming-distance-based voting for malware identification according to the retrieved results. The experiment results show that RNDPN outperforms the other six deep hashing models with 97.54% mean average precision (mAP) for malware retrieval when only 40 similar examples are retrieved, where the best results for all deep hashing models are observed with 48 bits hashing code length. Furthermore, the Hamming distance-based voting method implemented with RNDPN demonstrates unparalleled performance in malware classification compared to other models. Notably, it achieves exceptional results in two key aspects: malware classification accuracy with an impressive accuracy rate of 96.5%, and the identification of new or zero-day malware with a commendable accuracy of 85.7%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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