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Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2017

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TTPDrill: Automatic and Accurate Extraction of Threat Actions from Unstructured Text of CTI Sources

With the rapid growth of the cyber attacks, sharing of cyber threat intelligence (CTI) becomes essential to identify and respond to cyber attack in timely and cost-effective manner. However, with the lack of standard languages and automated analytics of cyber threat information, analyzing complex and unstructured text of CTI reports is extremely time- and labor-consuming. Without addressing this challenge, CTI sharing will be highly impractical, and attack uncertainty and time-to-defend will continue to increase.

Considering the high volume and speed of CTI sharing, our aim in this paper is to develop automated and context-aware analytics of cyber threat intelligence to accurately learn attack pattern (TTPs) from commonly available CTI source in order to timely implement cyber defense actions. Our paper has three key contributions. First, it presents a novel threat-action ontology that is sufficiently rich to understand the specifications and context of malicious actions. Second, we developed a novel text mining approach that combines enhanced techniques of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Information retrieval (IR) to extract threat actions based on semantic (rather than syntactic) relationship. Third, our CTI analysis can construct a complete attack pattern by mapping each threat action to the appropriate techniques, tactics and kill chain phases, and translating it any threat sharing standards, such as STIX 2.1. Our CTI analytic techniques were implemented in a tool, called TTPDrill, and evaluated using random set of Symantec Threat Reports. Our evaluation tests show that TTPDrill achieves more than 82% of precision and recall in a variety of measures, very reasonable for this problem domain.

Ghaith Husari
UNCC
United States

Ehab Al-Shaer
UNCC
United States

Mohiuddin Ahmed
UNCC
United States

Bei-Tseng Chu
UNCC
United States

Xi Niu
UNCC
United States

 

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