Can We Detect Malicious Behaviours in Encrypted DNS Tunnels Using Network Flow Entropy?

Abstract: This paper explores the concept of entropy of a flow to augment flow statistical features for encrypted DNS tunnelling detection, specifically DNS over HTTPS traffic. To achieve this, the use of flow exporters, namely Argus, DoHlyzer and Tranalyzer2 are studied. Statistical flow features automatically generated by the aforementioned tools are then augmented with the flow entropy. In this work, flow entropy is calculated using three different techniques: (i) entropy over all packets of a flow, (ii) entropy over the first 96 bytes of a flow, and (iii) entropy over the first n-packets of a flow. These features are provided as input to ML classifiers to detect malicious behaviours over four publicly available datasets. This model is optimized using TPOT-AutoML system, where the Random Forest classifier provided the best performance achieving an average F-measure of 98% over all testing datasets employed.

Yulduz Khodjaeva Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University, Canada

Nur Zincir-Heywood Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University, Canada

Ibrahim Zincir Faculty of Engineering, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey

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