November 17, 2019
Congestion control algorithms for data networks have been the subject of intense research for the last three decades. While most of the work has focused around the characterization of a flow’s bottleneck link, understanding the interactions amongst links and the ripple effects that perturbations in a link can cause on the rest of the network has remained much less understood. The Theory of Bottleneck Ordering is a recently developed mathematical framework that reveals the bottleneck structure of a network and provides a model to understand such effects. In this paper we present G2, the first operational network optimization framework that utilizes this new theoretical framework to characterize with high-precision the performance of bottlenecks and flows. G2 generates an interactive graph structure that describes how perturbations in links and flows propagate, providing operators new optimization insights and traffic engineering recommendations to help improve network performance. We provide a description of the G2 implementation and a set of experiments using real TCP/IP code to demonstrate its operational efficacy.This paper has not yet been published. If you would like to receive a copy once available, please contact us or check back here after the 2019 SuperComputing Conference. For more information on G2 technology, visit https://www.reservoir.com/research/tech/networking/.
Combining Tensor Decompositions and Graph Analytics to Provide Cyber Situational Awareness at HPC Scale
September 24, 2019
This paper describes MADHAT (Multidimensional Anomaly Detection fusing HPC, Analytics, and Tensors), an integrated workflow that demonstrates the applicability of HPC resources to the problem of maintaining cyber situational awareness. MADHAT combines two high-performance packages: ENSIGN for large-scale sparse tensor decompositions and HAGGLE for graph analytics. Tensor decompositions isolate coherent patterns of network behavior in ways that common clustering methods based on distance metrics cannot. Parallelized graph analysis then uses directed queries on a representation that combines the elements of identified patterns with other available information (such as additional log fields, domain knowledge, network topology, whitelists and blacklists, prior feedback, and published alerts) to confirm or reject a threat hypothesis, collect context, and raise alerts. MADHAT was developed using the collaborative HPC Architecture for Cyber Situational Awareness (HACSAW) research environment and evaluated on structured network sensor logs collected from Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) sites using HPC resources at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (ERDC DSRC). To date, MADHAT has analyzed logs with over 650 million entries.
May 23, 2019
Positive linear programming (PLP), also known as packing and covering linear programs, is an important class of problems frequently found in fields such as network science, operations research, or economics. In this work we demonstrate that all PLP problems can be represented using a network structure, revealing new key insights that lead to new polynomial-time algorithms.
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April 8, 2019
Full packet capture (FPC) consists in capturing all packets and storing them into permanent storage to enable offline forensic analysis. FPC however suffers from a scalability issue: at today's normal traffic speed rates of 10Gbps or above, it either becomes intractable or requires highly expensive hardware both in processing and storage, which rapidly decreases the economic viability of the technology.
The first good news is that for many practical cases, full packet capture is not necessary. This rationale stems from the well-known law of heavy tailed traffic: from an analysis standpoint, most of the interesting features found in network traffic—such as a network attack, although not limited to it—are found in a very small fraction of it. Further, in some cases full packet capture is not only unnecessary but could represent a liability as sensitive information is kept in non-ephemeral storage. The second good news is that all the heavy lifting done by Zeek in processing network traffic can be leveraged to overcome both the intractability and the liability problems. Indeed, Zeek can be brought into the loop to perform selective packet capture (SPC), a process by which the Zeek workers themselves decide which traffic must be stored into disk in a selective and fine granular manner.
In this talk Reservoir Labs will present a workflow to perform selective packet capture using the Zeek sensor at very high speed rates. The workflow allows Zeek scripts to directly trigger packet captures based on the real time analysis of the traffic itself. We will describe key data structures needed to efficiently perform this task and introduce several Zeek scripts and use cases illustrating how SPC can be used to capture just the necessary packets to enable meaningful forensic analysis while minimizing the exposure to the liability risk.
Contact us to receive a copy of this presentation or for a demonstration.
February 25, 2019
The increasing size, variety, rate of growth and change, and complexity of network data has warranted advanced network analysis and services. Tools that provide automated analysis through traditional or advanced signature-based systems or machine learning classifiers suffer from practical difficulties. These tools fail to provide comprehensive and contextual insights into the network when put to practical use in operational cyber security. In this paper, we present an effective tool for network security and traffic analysis that uses high-performance data analytics based on a class of unsupervised learning algorithms called tensor decompositions. The tool aims to provide a scalable analysis of the network traffic data and also reduce the cognitive load of network analysts and be network-expert-friendly by presenting clear and actionable insights into the network.
In this paper, we demonstrate the successful use of the tool in two completely diverse operational cyber security environments, namely, (1) security operations center (SOC) for the SCinet network at SC16 - The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis and (2) Reservoir Labs’ Local Area Network (LAN). In each of these environments, we produce actionable results for cyber security specialists including (but not limited to) (1) finding malicious network traffic involving internal and external attackers using port scans, SSH brute forcing, and NTP amplification attacks, (2) uncovering obfuscated network threats such as data exfiltration using DNS port and using ICMP traffic, and (3) finding network misconfiguration and performance degradation patterns.
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