Microsoft and Intel have a novel approach to classifying malware: visualizing it. They’re collaborating on STAMINA (Static Malware-as-Image Network Analysis), a project that turns rogue code into grayscale images so that a deep learning system can study them. The approach converts the binary form of an input file into a simple stream of pixels, and turns that into a picture with dimensions that vary depending on aspects like file size. A trained neural network then determines what (if anything) has infected the file.
ZDNet noted that the AI is trained on the huge amount of data Microsoft has collected from Windows Defenders installations. The technology doesn’t need full-size, pixel-by-pixel recreations of viruses, which makes sense when large malware could easily translate to gigantic pictures.