Data Mining for Network Intrusion Detection : A comparison of data mining algorithms and an analysis of relevant features for detecting cyber-attacks

University essay from Mittuniversitetet/Avdelningen för informations- och kommunikationssystem

Abstract: Data mining can be defined as the extraction of implicit, previously un-known, and potentially useful information from data. Numerous re-searchers have been developing security technology and exploring new methods to detect cyber-attacks with the DARPA 1998 dataset for Intrusion Detection and the modified versions of this dataset KDDCup99 and NSL-KDD, but until now no one have examined the performance of the Top 10 data mining algorithms selected by experts in data mining. The compared classification learning algorithms in this thesis are: C4.5, CART, k-NN and Naïve Bayes. The performance of these algorithms are compared with accuracy, error rate and average cost on modified versions of NSL-KDD train and test dataset where the instances are classified into normal and four cyber-attack categories: DoS, Probing, R2L and U2R. Additionally the most important features to detect cyber-attacks in all categories and in each category are evaluated with Weka’s Attribute Evaluator and ranked according to Information Gain. The results show that the classification algorithm with best performance on the dataset is the k-NN algorithm. The most important features to detect cyber-attacks are basic features such as the number of seconds of a network connection, the protocol used for the connection, the network service used, normal or error status of the connection and the number of data bytes sent. The most important features to detect DoS, Probing and R2L attacks are basic features and the least important features are content features. Unlike U2R attacks, where the content features are the most important features to detect attacks.

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