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Hadžiosmanović, D. and Simionato, L. and Bolzoni, D. and Zambon, Emmanuele and Etalle, S. (2012) N-gram Against the Machine: On the Feasibility of the N-gram Network Analysis for Binary Protocols. In: Proceedings of the 15th International Symposium on Research in Attacks, Intrusions and Defenses (RAID 2012), 12-14 Sep 2012, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. pp. 354-373. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 7462. Springer Verlag. ISSN 0302-9743 ISBN 978-3-642-33337-8
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-33338-5_18
In recent years we have witnessed several complex and high-impact attacks specifically targeting “binary” protocols (RPC, Samba and, more recently, RDP). These attacks could not be detected by current – signature-based – detection solutions, while – at least in theory – they could be detected by state-of-the-art anomaly-based systems. This raises once again the still unanswered question of how effective anomaly-based systems are in practice. To contribute to answering this question, in this paper we investigate the effectiveness of a widely studied category of network intrusion detection systems: anomaly-based algorithms using n-gram analysis for payload inspection. Specifically, we present a thorough analysis and evaluation of several detection algorithms using variants of n-gram analysis on real-life environments. Our tests show that the analyzed systems, in presence of data with high variability, cannot deliver high detection and low false positive rates at the same time.
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