High performance stride-based network payload inspection
Wang, Xiaofei (2012) High performance stride-based network payload inspection. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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There are two main drivers for network payload inspection: malicious data, attacks, virus detection in Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) and content detection in Data Leakage Prevention System (DLPS) or Copyright Infringement Detection System (CIDS).
Network attacks are getting more and more prevalent. Traditional network firewalls can only check the packet header, but fail to detect attacks hidden in the
packet payload. Therefore, the NIDS with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) function has been developed and widely deployed. By checking each byte of a packet against the pattern set, which is called pattern matching, NIDS is able to detect the attack codes hidden in the payload. The pattern set is usually organized as a Deterministic Finite Automata (DFA). The processing time of DFA is proportional
to the length of the input string, but the memory cost of a DFA is quite large. Meanwhile, the link bandwidth and the traffic of the Internet are rapidly increasing, the size of the attack signature database is also growing larger and
larger due to the diversification of the attacks. Consequently, there is a strong demand for high performance and low storage cost NIDS. Traditional softwarebased
and hardware-based pattern matching algorithms are have difficulty satisfying the processing speed requirement, thus high performance network payload inspection methods are needed to enable deep packet inspection at line rate.
In this thesis, Stride Finite Automata (StriFA), a novel finite automata family to accelerate both string matching and regular expression matching, is presented.
Compared with the conventional finite automata, which scan the entire traffic stream to locate malicious information, the StriFA only needs to scan samples of the traffic stream to find the suspicious information, thus increasing the matching speed and reducing memory requirements.
Technologies such as instant messaging software (Skype, MSN) or BitTorrent file sharing methods, allow convenient sharing of information between managers, employees, customers, and partners. This, however, leads to two kinds of major security risks when exchanging data between different people: firstly, leakage of sensitive data from a company and, secondly, distribution of copyright infringing products in Peer to Peer (P2P) networks. Traditional DFA-based DPI solutions cannot be used for inspection of file distribution in P2P networks due to the potential out-of-order manner of the data delivery. To address this problem, a hybrid finite automaton called Skip-Stride-Neighbor Finite Automaton (S2NFA) is proposed to solve this problem. It combines benefits of the following three structures:
1) Skip-FA, which is used to solve the out-of-order data scanning problem;
2) Stride-DFA, which is introduced to reduce the memory usage of Skip-FA;
3) Neighbor-DFA which is based on the characteristics of Stride-DFA to get a low false positive rate at the additional cost of a small increase in memory consumption.
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