Cyber Situation Awareness with Active Learning for Intrusion Detection

12/29/2019
by   Steven McElwee, et al.
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Intrusion detection has focused primarily on detecting cyberattacks at the event-level. Since there is such a large volume of network data and attacks are minimal, machine learning approaches have focused on improving accuracy and reducing false positives, but this has frequently resulted in overfitting. In addition, the volume of intrusion detection alerts is large and creates fatigue in the human analyst who must review them. This research addresses the problems associated with event-level intrusion detection and the large volumes of intrusion alerts by applying active learning and cyber situation awareness. This paper includes the results of two experiments using the UNSW-NB15 dataset. The first experiment evaluated sampling approaches for querying the oracle, as part of active learning. It then trained a Random Forest classifier using the samples and evaluated its results. The second experiment applied cyber situation awareness by aggregating the detection results of the first experiment and calculating the probability that a computer system was part of a cyberattack. This research showed that moving the perspective of event-level alerts to the probability that a computer system was part of an attack improved the accuracy of detection and reduced the volume of alerts that a human analyst would need to review.

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