Open Access

Detecting Pulsing Denial-of-Service Attacks with Nondeterministic Attack Intervals

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20092009:256821

Received: 14 April 2008

Accepted: 21 January 2009

Published: 2 March 2009


This paper addresses the important problem of detecting pulsing denial of service (PDoS) attacks which send a sequence of attack pulses to reduce TCP throughput. Unlike previous works which focused on a restricted form of attacks, we consider a very broad class of attacks. In particular, our attack model admits any attack interval between two adjacent pulses, whether deterministic or not. It also includes the traditional flooding-based attacks as a limiting case (i.e., zero attack interval). Our main contribution is Vanguard, a new anomaly-based detection scheme for this class of PDoS attacks. The Vanguard detection is based on three traffic anomalies induced by the attacks, and it detects them using a CUSUM algorithm. We have prototyped Vanguard and evaluated it on a testbed. The experiment results show that Vanguard is more effective than the previous methods that are based on other traffic anomalies (after a transformation using wavelet transform, Fourier transform, and autocorrelation) and detection algorithms (e.g., dynamic time warping).


Fourier TransformAutocorrelationQuantum InformationDetection AlgorithmPrevious Method

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Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Computing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong


© Xiapu Luo et al. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.