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S'ware Eng/IT: PDF malware detection with abstract interpretation (Java, Scala)

Oracle Labs #3

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Open Posted: 19 Sep 17. Closes: 22 Nov 17 Available: Summer vac + Semester 1 (Dec - Jun)

Summer vacation + Semester 1 2018 project

Note: students must be able to enrol in thesis/project during Semester 1; as well available whole of summer vacation. These are requirements for this project.

This project will suit final year / Masters students in Software Engineering / Computer Science / IT - with strong programming skills (Java, Scala - essential), experience with Unix-based systems, and a very solid understanding of data structures and algorithms (Grade 6 or 7 in relevant subject/s).

The successful applicant will receive a $6,000 scholarship + academic credit (24cps - QUT; 4 units - UQ).  You must be available to work on the project onsite for 3 days/week during semester 1; plus 5 days/week over the entire summer vacation period (excluding public holidays).

APPLICANTS NOTE: you must include your academic transcript/s inside your resume (undergrad + Masters if applicable) - before Oracle Labs will consider your application. Also include your student number.

Location: Brisbane CBD QLD
Categories: Information Technology, Electrical Engineering

Project Background / Description

Portable Document Format (PDF) readers now ship with full-fledged JavaScript environments to allow for rich client interactions in PDF documents. Because of the capabilities it offers, attackers can subvert the PDF JavaScript environment to create PDF malware. The goal of this internship is to extend an existing prototype PDF malware detector to ensure it can catch the latest JavaScript-based PDF malware without producing too many false alarms.


About Oracle

Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems.  With more than 400,000 customers—including 100 of the Fortune 100—in more than 145 countries, Oracle provides a complete technology stack both in the cloud and in the data centre.

Oracle’s industry-leading cloud-based and on-premises solutions give customers complete deployment flexibility and unmatched benefits including application integration, advanced security, high availability, scalability, energy efficiency, powerful performance, and low total cost of ownership.

For more information about Oracle, visit

Oracle Labs

Oracle Labs is the research division of Oracle.  It focuses on applied research to produce new technologies of interest to the company.

Oracle Labs Australia (, based in Brisbane, specialises in Program Analysis in a variety of domains, including bug-checking, productivity tools, security analysis, testing, and more. The Brisbane team hit the headlines with its research on static code analysis that lead to scalable and precise bug-checking algorithms embedded in the Parfait tool.

How Oracle helps CEED students

We link you up with an experienced supervisor on the Brisbane team. Yes, you’ll have your own mentor! They will work closely with you, helping you grow your skills—really practical skills you can put to work in real-world situations.

Now, be prepared: working at Oracle Labs is not a holiday. The work can be hard—a real challenge sometimes. So you’ll need to buckle down. But it’s a great workplace. If you put in the hard yards with Oracle Labs, your résumé will go to the top of the pile in job applications. It’s your ticket to the future.

Objectives / Tasks / Project Outcomes

  • In collaboration with Oracle’s security team, the intern will build a state-of-the-art PDF malware detection tool. By the end of the internship, the developed tool should be deployable internally to help Oracle’s security team detect PDF malware.

  • Study PDF malware, understand how they work, design detection strategies, and extend an existing prototype PDF malware detector to detect them.

  • Study the PDF format specification and extend an existing code extractor to retrieve JavaScript code embedded in PDF documents.

  • To extend the existing prototype PDF malware detector, the intern will, with the help of their supervisors, study and gain a basic understanding of abstract interpretation, a program analysis technique.

  • Port the prototype PDF malware detector from the SAFE 1.0 to the SAFE 2.0 abstract interpretation framework (see:

  • Build a benchmark of benign and malicious PDF documents and compare the detection rate and performance of the PDF malware detector with other state-of-the-art approaches.

  • Build a deployable PDF malware detector tool, write documentation, design and implement a test suite and release their tool to Oracle security team.

  • Give a presentation to the group on work done.







Skills / Experience Required

  • Excellent coding skills. The project will mostly use the Java and Scala programming languages
  • Excellent academic results
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Strong interest in Program Analysis and software engineering principles
  • Strong understanding of data structures and algorithms
  • Experience with Unix-based systems
  • Ability to work independently and in small groups.





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