Autoencoder-based feature learning for cyber security applications

Mahmood Yousefiazar, Vijayaraghavan Varadharajan, Leonard Hamey, Udaya Tupakula

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

253 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a novel feature learning model for cyber security tasks. We propose to use Auto-encoders (AEs), as a generative model, to learn latent representation of different feature sets. We show how well the AE is capable of automatically learning a reasonable notion of semantic similarity among input features. Specifically, the AE accepts a feature vector, obtained from cyber security phenomena, and extracts a code vector that captures the semantic similarity between the feature vectors. This similarity is embedded in an abstract latent representation. Because the AE is trained in an unsupervised fashion, the main part of this success comes from appropriate original feature set that is used in this paper. It can also provide more discriminative features in contrast to other feature engineering approaches. Furthermore, the scheme can reduce the dimensionality of the features thereby signicantly minimising the memory requirements. We selected two different cyber security tasks: networkbased anomaly intrusion detection and Malware classication. We have analysed the proposed scheme with various classifiers using publicly available datasets for network anomaly intrusion detection and malware classifications. Several appropriate evaluation metrics show improvement compared to prior results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Joint Conference on Neural Networks
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781509061822
ISBN (Print)9781509061815, 9781509061839
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017
EventInternational Joint Conference on Neural Networks 2017 - Anchorage, AK, United States
Duration: 14 May 201719 May 2017
Conference number: 17010725


ConferenceInternational Joint Conference on Neural Networks 2017
Abbreviated titleIJCNN
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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