Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Barry E. Mullins, PhD.


Cloud computing, or the migration of computing resources from the end user to remotely managed locations where they can be purchased on-demand, presents several new and unique security challenges. One of these challenges is how to efficiently detect malware amongst files that are possibly spread across multiple locations in the Internet over congested network connections. This research studies how such an environment will impact the performance of malware detection. A simplified cloud environment is created in which network conditions are fully controlled. This environment includes a fileserver, a detection server, the detection mechanism, and clean and malicious file sample sets. The performance of a novel malware detection algorithm called Malware Target Recognition (MaTR) is evaluated and compared with several commercial detection mechanisms at various levels of congestion. The research evaluates performance in terms of file response time and detection accuracy rates. Results show that there is no statistically significant difference in MaTR's true mean response time when scanning clean files with low to moderate levels of congestion compared to the leading commercial response times with a 95% confidence level. MaTR demonstrates a slightly faster response time, by roughly 0.1s to 0.2s, at detecting malware than the leading commercial mechanisms' response time at these congestion levels, but MaTR is also the only device that exhibits false positives with a 0.3% false positive rate. When exposed to high levels of congestion, MaTR's response time is impacted by a factor of 88 to 817 for clean files and 227 to 334 for malicious files, losing its performance competitiveness with other leading detection mechanisms. MaTR's true positive detection rates are extremely competitive at 99.1%.

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