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Ransomware detection using deep learning based unsupervised feature extraction and a cost sensitive Pareto Ensemble classifier

Zahoora, U., Khan, A., Rajarajan, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5814-9922 , Khan, S. H., Asam, M. & Jamal, T. (2022). Ransomware detection using deep learning based unsupervised feature extraction and a cost sensitive Pareto Ensemble classifier. Scientific Reports, 12(1), article number 15647. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-19443-7


Ransomware attacks pose a serious threat to Internet resources due to their far-reaching effects. It's Zero-day variants are even more hazardous, as less is known about them. In this regard, when used for ransomware attack detection, conventional machine learning approaches may become data-dependent, insensitive to error cost, and thus may not tackle zero-day ransomware attacks. Zero-day ransomware have normally unseen underlying data distribution. This paper presents a Cost-Sensitive Pareto Ensemble strategy, CSPE-R to detect novel Ransomware attacks. Initially, the proposed framework exploits the unsupervised deep Contractive Auto Encoder (CAE) to transform the underlying varying feature space to a more uniform and core semantic feature space. To learn the robust features, the proposed CSPE-R ensemble technique explores different semantic spaces at various levels of detail. Heterogeneous base estimators are then trained over these extracted subspaces to find the core relevance between the various families of the ransomware attacks. Then, a novel Pareto Ensemble-based estimator selection strategy is implemented to achieve a cost-sensitive compromise between false positives and false negatives. Finally, the decision of selected estimators are aggregated to improve the detection against unknown ransomware attacks. The experimental results show that the proposed CSPE-R framework performs well against zero-day ransomware attacks.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Biological models, Computer science, Evolution, Genetic techniques
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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