Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Kenneth W. Bauer, PhD.


Most communication in the modern era takes place over some type of cyber network, to include telecommunications, banking, public utilities, and health systems. Information gained from illegitimate network access can be used to create catastrophic effects at the individual, corporate, national, and even international levels, making cyber security a top priority. Cyber networks frequently encounter amounts of network traffic too large to process real-time threat detection efficiently. Reducing the amount of information necessary for a network monitor to determine the presence of a threat would likely aide in keeping networks more secure. This thesis uses network traffic data captured during the Department of Defense Cyber Defense Exercise to determine which features of network traffic are salient to detecting and classifying threats. After generating a set of 248 features from the capture data, feed-forward artificial neural networks were generated and signal-to-noise ratios were used to prune the feature set to 18 features while still achieving an accuracy ranging from 83% - 94%. The salient features primarily come from the transport layer section of the network traffic data and involve the client/server connection parameters, size of the initial data sent, and number of segments and/or bytes sent in the flow.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number