Machine learning for network based intrusion detection: an investigation into discrepancies in findings with the KDD cup '99 data set and multi-objective evolution of neural network classifier ensembles from imbalanced data.

Engen, V., 2010. Machine learning for network based intrusion detection: an investigation into discrepancies in findings with the KDD cup '99 data set and multi-objective evolution of neural network classifier ensembles from imbalanced data. PhD Thesis (PhD). Bournemouth University.

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For the last decade it has become commonplace to evaluate machine learning techniques for network based intrusion detection on the KDD Cup '99 data set. This data set has served well to demonstrate that machine learning can be useful in intrusion detection. However, it has undergone some criticism in the literature, and it is out of date. Therefore, some researchers question the validity of the findings reported based on this data set. Furthermore, as identified in this thesis, there are also discrepancies in the findings reported in the literature. In some cases the results are contradictory. Consequently, it is difficult to analyse the current body of research to determine the value in the findings. This thesis reports on an empirical investigation to determine the underlying causes of the discrepancies. Several methodological factors, such as choice of data subset, validation method and data preprocessing, are identified and are found to affect the results significantly. These findings have also enabled a better interpretation of the current body of research. Furthermore, the criticisms in the literature are addressed and future use of the data set is discussed, which is important since researchers continue to use it due to a lack of better publicly available alternatives. Due to the nature of the intrusion detection domain, there is an extreme imbalance among the classes in the KDD Cup '99 data set, which poses a significant challenge to machine learning. In other domains, researchers have demonstrated that well known techniques such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) and Decision Trees (DTs) often fail to learn the minor class(es) due to class imbalance. However, this has not been recognized as an issue in intrusion detection previously. This thesis reports on an empirical investigation that demonstrates that it is the class imbalance that causes the poor detection of some classes of intrusion reported in the literature. An alternative approach to training ANNs is proposed in this thesis, using Genetic Algorithms (GAs) to evolve the weights of the ANNs, referred to as an Evolutionary Neural Network (ENN). When employing evaluation functions that calculate the fitness proportionally to the instances of each class, thereby avoiding a bias towards the major class(es) in the data set, significantly improved true positive rates are obtained whilst maintaining a low false positive rate. These findings demonstrate that the issues of learning from imbalanced data are not due to limitations of the ANNs; rather the training algorithm. Moreover, the ENN is capable of detecting a class of intrusion that has been reported in the literature to be undetectable by ANNs. One limitation of the ENN is a lack of control of the classification trade-off the ANNs obtain. This is identified as a general issue with current approaches to creating classifiers. Striving to create a single best classifier that obtains the highest accuracy may give an unfruitful classification trade-off, which is demonstrated clearly in this thesis. Therefore, an extension of the ENN is proposed, using a Multi-Objective GA (MOGA), which treats the classification rate on each class as a separate objective. This approach produces a Pareto front of non-dominated solutions that exhibit different classification trade-offs, from which the user can select one with the desired properties. The multi-objective approach is also utilised to evolve classifier ensembles, which yields an improved Pareto front of solutions. Furthermore, the selection of classifier members for the ensembles is investigated, demonstrating how this affects the performance of the resultant ensembles. This is a key to explaining why some classifier combinations fail to give fruitful solutions.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Subjects:Generalities > Computer Science and Informatics
Group:School of Design, Engineering & Computing > Software Systems Research Centre
ID Code:15899
Deposited By:Mrs Jill Burns
Deposited On:09 Aug 2010 14:24
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:35

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