Detecting Computer Viruses using GPUs

Alexandre Nuno Vicente Dias
Departamento de Engenharia Informatica (DEI), Instituto Superior Tecnico
Instituto Superior Tecnico, 2012


   title={Detecting Computer Viruses using GPUs},

   author={Dias, Alexandre Nuno Vicente},



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Anti-virus software is the main defense mechanism against malware, which is becoming more common and advanced. A significant part of the virus scanning process is dedicated to scanning a given file against a set of virus signatures. As it is important that the overall scanning process be as fast as possible, efforts must be done to minimize the time spent in signature matching. Recently, graphics processing units have increased in popularity in high performance computation, due to their inherently parallel architecture. One of their possible applications is performing matching of multiple signatures in parallel. In this work, we present details on the implemented multiple string searching algorithm based on deterministic finite automata which runs on a graphics processing unit. Due to space concerns inherent to DFAs our algorithm only scans for a substring of each signature, thereby serving as a high-speed pre-filtering mechanism. Multiple optimizations were implemented in order to increase its performance. In our experiments with sets of test files, the implemented solution was found to have a speedup of around 28 when compared to the pattern matching portion of ClamAV, an open-source anti-virus engine. On other sets of test files with different characteristics the solution does not have such a good performance, but future work is described to improve it in these situations.
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