Towards a machine learning based situational awareness framework for cybersecurity: An SDN implementation


The ever-increasing number of internet-connected devices, along with the continuous evolution of cyber-attacks, in terms of volume and ingenuity, has led to a widened cyber-threat landscape, rendering infrastructures prone to malicious attacks. Towards addressing systems’ vulnerabilities and alleviating the impact of these threats, this paper presents a machine learning based situational awareness framework that detects existing and newly introduced network-enabled entities, utilizing the real-time awareness feature provided by the SDN paradigm, assesses them against known vulnerabilities, and assigns them to a connectivity-appropriate network slice. The assessed entities are continuously monitored by an ML-based IDS, which is trained with an enhanced dataset. Our endeavor aims to demonstrate that a neural network, trained with heterogeneous data stemming from the operational environment (common vulnerability enumeration IDs that correlate attacks with existing vulnerabilities), can achieve more accurate prediction rates than a conventional one, thus addressing some aspects of the situational awareness paradigm. The proposed framework was evaluated within a real-life environment and the results revealed an increase of more than 4% in the overall prediction accuracy.

Published online: 20 July 2021