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Detecting Danger: The Dendritic Cell Algorithm

Greensmith, Julie; Aickelin, Uwe; Cayzer, Steve
HP Laboratories


Keyword(s): algorithms, context, computer security, danger

Abstract: The Dendritic Cell Algorithm (DCA) is inspired by the function of the dendritic cells of the human immune system. In nature, dendritic cells are the intrusion detection agents of the human body, policing the tissue and organs for potential invaders in the form of pathogens. In this research, an abstract model of dendritic cell (DC) behavior is developed and subsequently used to form an algorithm the DCA. The abstraction process was facilitated through close collaboration with laboratory-based immunologists, who performed bespoke experiments, the results of which are used as an integral part of this algorithm. The DCA is a population based algorithm, with each agent in the system represented as an artificial DC. Each DC has the ability to combine multiple data streams and can add context to data suspected as anomalous. In this chapter, the abstraction process and details of the resultant algorithm are given. The algorithm is applied to numerous intrusion detection problems in computer security including the detection of port scans and botnets, where it has produced impressive results with relatively low rates of false positives.

26 Pages

Additional Publication Information: To be published in the book: Robust Intelligent systems

External Posting Date: November 21, 2008 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: November 21, 2008 [Fulltext]

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