Hierarchical Kohonenen Net for anomaly detection in network security

Suseela T. Sarasamma, Qiuming A. Zhu, Julie Huff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


A novel multilevel hierarchical Kohonen Net (K-Map) for an intrusion detection system is presented. Each level of the hierarchical map is modeled as a simple winner-take-all K-Map. One significant advantage of this multilevel hierarchical K-Map is its computational efficiency. Unlike other statistical anomaly detection methods such as nearest neighbor approach, K-means clustering or probabilistic analysis that employ distance computation in the feature space to identify the outliers, our approach does not involve costly point-to-point computation in organizing the data into clusters. Another advantage is the reduced network size. We use the classification capability of the K-Map on selected dimensions of data set in detecting anomalies. Randomly selected subsets that contain both attacks and normal records from the KDD Cup 1999 benchmark data are used to train the hierarchical net. We use a confidence measure to label the clusters. Then we use the test set from the same KDD Cup 1999 benchmark to test the hierarchical net. We show that a hierarchical K-Map in which each layer operates on a small subset of the feature space is superior to a single-layer K-Map operating on the whole feature space in detecting a variety of attacks in terms of detection rate as well as false positive rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Computer network security
  • Neural network applications
  • Self-organizing feature maps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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