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Learning to control a structured-prediction decoder for detection of HTTP-layer DDoS attackers. (English) Zbl 1386.68128

Summary: We focus on the problem of detecting clients that attempt to exhaust server resources by flooding a service with protocol-compliant HTTP requests. Attacks are usually coordinated by an entity that controls many clients. Modeling the application as a structured-prediction problem allows the prediction model to jointly classify a multitude of clients based on their cohesion of otherwise inconspicuous features. Since the resulting output space is too vast to search exhaustively, we employ greedy search and techniques in which a parametric controller guides the search. We apply a known method that sequentially learns the controller and the structured-prediction model. We then derive an online policy-gradient method that finds the parameters of the controller and of the structured-prediction model in a joint optimization problem; we obtain a convergence guarantee for the latter method. We evaluate and compare the various methods based on a large collection of traffic data of a web-hosting service.

MSC:

68T05 Learning and adaptive systems in artificial intelligence
62M20 Inference from stochastic processes and prediction
68M11 Internet topics

Software:

HMMPayl; HC-search
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