The large number of streaming intrusion alerts make it challenging for security analysts to quickly identify attack patterns. This is especially difficult since critical alerts often occur too rarely for traditional pattern mining algorithms to be effective. Recognizing the attack speed as an inherent indicator of differing cyber attacks, this work aggregates alerts into attack episodes that have distinct attack speeds, and finds attack actions regularly co-occurring within the same episode. This enables a novel use of the constrained SPADE temporal pattern mining algorithm to extract consistent co-occurrences of alert signatures that are indicative of attack actions that follow each other. The proposed Rare yet Co-occurring Attack action Discovery (R-CAD) system extracts not only the co-occurring patterns but also the temporal characteristics of the co-occurrences, giving the `strong rules' indicative of critical and repeated attack behaviors. Through the use of a real-world dataset, we demonstrate that R-CAD helps reduce the overwhelming volume and variety of intrusion alerts to a manageable set of co-occurring strong rules. We show specific rules that reveal how critical attack actions follow one another and in what attack speed.
Computing and Information Sciences (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Science (GCCIS)
Shanchieh Jay Yang
Alexander G. Ororbia II
Werner, Gordon, "R-CAD: Rare Cyber Alert Signature Relationship Extraction Through Temporal Based Learning" (2022). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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