SLEUTH: Real-time Attack Scenario Reconstruction from COTS Audit Data


Md Nahid Hossain, Stony Brook University; Sadegh M. Milajerdi, University of Illinois at Chicago; Junao Wang, Stony Brook University; Birhanu Eshete and Rigel Gjomemo, University of Illinois at Chicago; R. Sekar and Scott Stoller, Stony Brook University; V.N. Venkatakrishnan, University of Illinois at Chicago


We present an approach and system for real-time reconstruction of attack scenarios on an enterprise host. To meet the scalability and real-time needs of the problem, we develop a platform-neutral, main-memory based, dependency graph abstraction of audit-log data. We then present efficient, tag-based techniques for attack detection and reconstruction, including source identification and impact analysis. We also develop methods to reveal the big picture of attacks by construction of compact, visual graphs of attack steps. Our system participated in a red team evaluation organized by DARPA and was able to successfully detect and reconstruct the details of the red team’s attacks on hosts running Windows, FreeBSD and Linux.

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@inproceedings {203676,
author = {Md Nahid Hossain and Sadegh M. Milajerdi and Junao Wang and Birhanu Eshete and Rigel Gjomemo and R. Sekar and Scott Stoller and V.N. Venkatakrishnan},
title = {{SLEUTH}: Real-time Attack Scenario Reconstruction from {COTS} Audit Data},
booktitle = {26th {USENIX} Security Symposium ({USENIX} Security 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-40-9},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
pages = {487--504},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},