Unsupervised ensemble anomaly detection using time-periodic packet sampling

Masato Uchida*, Shuichi Nawata, Yu Gu, Masato Tsuru, Yuji Oie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We propose an anomaly detection method for finding patterns in network traffic that do not conform to legitimate (i.e., normal) behavior. The proposed method trains a baseline model describing the normal behavior of network traffic without using manually labeled traffic data. The trained baseline model is used as the basis for comparison with the audit network traffic. This anomaly detection works in an unsupervised manner through the use of time-periodic packet sampling, which is used in a manner that differs from its intended purpose - the lossy nature of packet sampling is used to extract normal packets from the unlabeled original traffic data. Evaluation using actual traffic traces showed that the proposed method has false positive and false negative rates in the detection of anomalies regarding TCP SYN packets comparable to those of a conventional method that uses manually labeled traffic data to train the baseline model. Performance variation due to the probabilistic nature of sampled traffic data is mitigated by using ensemble anomaly detection that collectively exploits multiple baseline models in parallel. Alarm sensitivity is adjusted for the intended use by using maximum- and minimum-based anomaly detection that effectively take advantage of the performance variations among the multiple baseline models. Testing using actual traffic traces showed that the proposed anomaly detection method performs as well as one using manually labeled traffic data and better than one using randomly sampled (unlabeled) traffic data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2358-2367
Number of pages10
JournalIEICE Transactions on Communications
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Anomaly detection
  • Packet sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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