Strengthening and Enriching Machine Learning for Cybersecurity

Mr. Wenbo Guo

Nowadays, security researchers are increasingly using AI to automate and facilitate security analysis. Although making some meaningful progress, AI has not maximized its capability in security yet due to two challenges. First, existing ML techniques have not reached security professionals’ requirements in critical properties, such as interpretability and adversary-resistancy. Second, Security data imposes many new technical challenges, which break the assumptions of existing ML Models and thus jeopardize their efficacy.

In this talk, I will describe my research efforts to address the above challenges, with a primary focus on strengthening the interpretability of blackbox deep learning models and deep reinforcement learning policies. Regarding deep neural networks, I will describe an explanation method for deep learning-based security applications and demonstrate how security analysts could benefit from this method to establish trust in blackbox models and conduct efficient finetuning. As for DRL policies, I will introduce a novel approach to draw critical states/actions of a DRL agent and show how to utilize the above explanations to scrutinize policy weaknesses, remediate policy errors, and even defend against adversarial attacks. Finally, I will conclude by highlighting my future plan towards strengthening the trustworthiness of advanced ML techniques and maximizing their capability in cyber defenses.

Wenbo Guo is a Ph.D. Candidate at Penn State, advised by Professor Xinyu Xing. His research interests are machine learning and cybersecurity. His work includes strengthening the fundamental properties of machine learning models and designing customized machine learning models to handle security-unique challenges. He is a recipient of the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship (2020-2022), Facebook/Baidu Ph.D. Fellowship Finalist (2020), and ACM CCS Outstanding Paper Award (2018). His research has been featured by multiple mainstream media and has appeared in a diverse set of top-tier venues in security, machine learning, and data mining. Going beyond academic research, he also actively participates in many world-class cybersecurity competitions and has won the 2018 DEFCON/GeekPwn AI challenge finalist award.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Enquiries: Ms. Karen Chan at Tel. 3943 8439


Jan 19, 2022


11:00 am - 12:00 pm



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