Purdue University Graduate School
Miguel_Villarreal-Vasquez_Thesis_Final.pdf (2.64 MB)

Anomaly Detection and Security Deep Learning Methods Under Adversarial Situation

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posted on 2020-06-27, 02:33 authored by Miguel Villarreal-VasquezMiguel Villarreal-Vasquez

Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), or more precisely on Neural Networks (NNs), and fast processing technologies (e.g. Graphic Processing Units or GPUs) in recent years have positioned NNs as one of the main machine learning algorithms used to solved a diversity of problems in both academia and the industry. While they have been proved to be effective in solving many tasks, the lack of security guarantees and understanding of their internal processing disrupts their wide adoption in general and cybersecurity-related applications. In this dissertation, we present the findings of a comprehensive study aimed to enable the absorption of state-of-the-art NN algorithms in the development of enterprise solutions. Specifically, this dissertation focuses on (1) the development of defensive mechanisms to protect NNs against adversarial attacks and (2) application of NN models for anomaly detection in enterprise networks.

In this state of affairs, this work makes the following contributions. First, we performed a thorough study of the different adversarial attacks against NNs. We concentrate on the attacks referred to as trojan attacks and introduce a novel model hardening method that removes any trojan (i.e. misbehavior) inserted to the NN models at training time. We carefully evaluate our method and establish the correct metrics to test the efficiency of defensive methods against these types of attacks: (1) accuracy with benign data, (2) attack success rate, and (3) accuracy with adversarial data. Prior work evaluates their solutions using the first two metrics only, which do not suffice to guarantee robustness against untargeted attacks. Our method is compared with the state-of-the-art. The obtained results show our method outperforms it. Second, we proposed a novel approach to detect anomalies using LSTM-based models. Our method analyzes at runtime the event sequences generated by the Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) system of a renowned security company running and efficiently detects uncommon patterns. The new detecting method is compared with the EDR system. The results show that our method achieves a higher detection rate. Finally, we present a Moving Target Defense technique that smartly reacts upon the detection of anomalies so as to also mitigate the detected attacks. The technique efficiently replaces the entire stack of virtual nodes, making ongoing attacks in the system ineffective.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Bharat Bhargava

Additional Committee Member 2

Xiangyu Zhang

Additional Committee Member 3

Zhiyuan Li

Additional Committee Member 4

Vernon Rego

Additional Committee Member 5

Christopher G. Brinton