Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Saikat Das



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Chair

Sajjan Shiva

Committee Member

Deepak Venugopal

Committee Member

Mohd. Hasan Ali

Committee Member

Frederick Sheldon


Distributed denial of service (DDoS) is a network-based attack where the aim of the attacker is to overwhelm the victim server. The attacker floods the server by sending enormous amount of network packets in a distributed manner beyond the servers capacity and thus causing the disruption of its normal service. In this dissertation, we focus to build intelligent detectors that can learn by themselves with less human interactions and detect DDoS attacks accurately. Machine learning (ML) has promising outcomes throughout the technologies including cybersecurity and provides us with intelligence when applied on Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs). In addition, from the state-of-the-art ML-based IDSs, the Ensemble classifier (combination of classifiers) outperforms single classifier. Therefore, we have implemented both supervised and unsupervised ensemble frameworks to build IDSs for better DDoS detection accuracy with lower false alarms compared to the existing ones. Our experimentation, done with the most popular and benchmark datasets such as NSL-KDD, UNSW-NB15, and CICIDS2017, have achieved at most detection accuracy of 99.1% with the lowest false positive rate of 0.01%. As feature selection is one of the mandatory preprocessing phases in ML classification, we have designed several feature selection techniques for better performances in terms of DDoS detection accuracy, false positive alarms, and training times. Initially, we have implemented an ensemble framework for feature selection (FS) methods which combines almost all well-known FS methods and yields better outcomes compared to any single FS method.The goal of my dissertation is not only to detect DDoS attacks precisely but also to demonstrate explanations for these detections. Interpretable machine learning (IML) technique is used to explain a detected DDoS attack with the help of the effectiveness of the corresponding features. We also have implemented a novel feature selection approach based on IML which helps to find optimum features that are used further to retrain our models. The retrained model gives better performances than general feature selection process. Moreover, we have developed an explainer model using IML that identifies detected DDoS attacks with proper explanations based on effectiveness of the features. The contribution of this dissertation is five-folded with the ultimate goal of detecting the most frequent DDoS attacks in cyber security. In order to detect DDoS attacks, we first used ensemble machine learning classification with both supervised and unsupervised classifiers. For better performance, we then implemented and applied two feature selection approaches, such as ensemble feature selection framework and IML based feature selection approach, both individually and in a combination with supervised ensemble framework. Furthermore, we exclusively added explanations for the detected DDoS attacks with the help of explainer models that are built using LIME and SHAP IML methods. To build trustworthy explainer models, a detailed survey has been conducted on interpretable machine learning methods and on their associated tools. We applied the designed framework in various domains, like smart grid and NLP-based IDS to verify its efficacy and ability of performing as a generic model.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest