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      Detecting Malicious PowerShell Commands using Deep Neural Networks

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          Abstract

          Microsoft's PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that is installed by default on Windows machines. While PowerShell can be configured by administrators for restricting access and reducing vulnerabilities, these restrictions can be bypassed. Moreover, PowerShell commands can be easily generated dynamically, executed from memory, encoded and obfuscated, thus making the logging and forensic analysis of code executed by PowerShell challenging.For all these reasons, PowerShell is increasingly used by cybercriminals as part of their attacks' tool chain, mainly for downloading malicious contents and for lateral movement. Indeed, a recent comprehensive technical report by Symantec dedicated to PowerShell's abuse by cybercrimials reported on a sharp increase in the number of malicious PowerShell samples they received and in the number of penetration tools and frameworks that use PowerShell. This highlights the urgent need of developing effective methods for detecting malicious PowerShell commands.In this work, we address this challenge by implementing several novel detectors of malicious PowerShell commands and evaluating their performance. We implemented both "traditional" natural language processing (NLP) based detectors and detectors based on character-level convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Detectors' performance was evaluated using a large real-world dataset.Our evaluation results show that, although our detectors individually yield high performance, an ensemble detector that combines an NLP-based classifier with a CNN-based classifier provides the best performance, since the latter classifier is able to detect malicious commands that succeed in evading the former. Our analysis of these evasive commands reveals that some obfuscation patterns automatically detected by the CNN classifier are intrinsically difficult to detect using the NLP techniques we applied.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Speech Recognition with Deep Recurrent Neural Networks

          Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) are a powerful model for sequential data. End-to-end training methods such as Connectionist Temporal Classification make it possible to train RNNs for sequence labelling problems where the input-output alignment is unknown. The combination of these methods with the Long Short-term Memory RNN architecture has proved particularly fruitful, delivering state-of-the-art results in cursive handwriting recognition. However RNN performance in speech recognition has so far been disappointing, with better results returned by deep feedforward networks. This paper investigates \emph{deep recurrent neural networks}, which combine the multiple levels of representation that have proved so effective in deep networks with the flexible use of long range context that empowers RNNs. When trained end-to-end with suitable regularisation, we find that deep Long Short-term Memory RNNs achieve a test set error of 17.7% on the TIMIT phoneme recognition benchmark, which to our knowledge is the best recorded score.
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            Exploiting the past and the future in protein secondary structure prediction.

            Predicting the secondary structure of a protein (alpha-helix, beta-sheet, coil) is an important step towards elucidating its three-dimensional structure, as well as its function. Presently, the best predictors are based on machine learning approaches, in particular neural network architectures with a fixed, and relatively short, input window of amino acids, centered at the prediction site. Although a fixed small window avoids overfitting problems, it does not permit capturing variable long-rang information. We introduce a family of novel architectures which can learn to make predictions based on variable ranges of dependencies. These architectures extend recurrent neural networks, introducing non-causal bidirectional dynamics to capture both upstream and downstream information. The prediction algorithm is completed by the use of mixtures of estimators that leverage evolutionary information, expressed in terms of multiple alignments, both at the input and output levels. While our system currently achieves an overall performance close to 76% correct prediction--at least comparable to the best existing systems--the main emphasis here is on the development of new algorithmic ideas. The executable program for predicting protein secondary structure is available from the authors free of charge. pfbaldi@ics.uci.edu, gpollast@ics.uci.edu, brunak@cbs.dtu.dk, paolo@dsi.unifi.it.
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              A Survey of Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis

               Bing Liu,  Lei Zhang (2012)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                11 April 2018
                Article
                10.1145/3196494.3196511
                1804.04177
                5e782968-3f0e-4cf2-9d72-54ce6b681675

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                AsiaCCS 2018, 11 pages, 5 figures
                cs.CR cs.NE

                Security & Cryptology, Neural & Evolutionary computing

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