Human-guided auto-labeling for network traffic data: The GELM approach

Meejoung Kim, Inkyu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Data labeling is crucial in various areas, including network security, and a prerequisite for applying statistical-based classification and supervised learning techniques. Therefore, developing labeling methods that ensure good performance is important. We propose a human-guided auto-labeling algorithm involving the self-supervised learning concept, with the purpose of labeling data quickly, accurately, and consistently. It consists of three processes: auto-labeling, validation, and update. A labeling scheme is proposed by considering weighted features in the auto-labeling, while the generalized extreme learning machine (GELM) enabling fast training is applied to validate assigned labels. Two different approaches are considered in the update to label new data to investigate labeling speed and accuracy. We experiment to verify the suitability and accuracy of the algorithm for network traffic, applying the algorithm to five traffic datasets, some including distributed denial of service (DDoS), DoS, BruteForce, and PortScan attacks. Numerical results show the algorithm labels unlabeled datasets quickly, accurately, and consistently and the GELM's learning speed enables labeling data in real-time. It also shows that the performances between auto- and conventional labels are nearly identical on datasets containing only DDoS attacks, which implies the algorithm is quite suitable for such datasets. However, the performance differences between the two labels are not negligible on datasets, including various attacks. Several reasons that require further investigation can be considered, including the selected features and the reliability of conventional labels. Even with this limitation of the current study, the algorithm will provide a criterion for labeling data in real-time occurring in many areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-526
Number of pages17
JournalNeural Networks
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by the Mid-career Research Program through the NRF Grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Korean government ( NRF-2019R1A2C1002706 ).

Funding Information:
The authors appreciate the support for the datasets used in this paper: CAIDA’s Internet Traces provided by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Homeland Security, and CAIDA members, MIT Lab, and Hochschule Coburg.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Attack prediction
  • Auto-labeling process
  • Generalized extreme learning machine
  • Human-guided labeling
  • Moore–Penrose generalized inverse
  • Network traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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