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Master Thesis Defense - February 26, 2020: Anonymization of Event Logs for Network Security Monitoring

February 20, 2020


Alis Rasic

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.
Room EV003.309

You are invited to attend the following M.A.Sc. (Information Systems Security) thesis examination.

Examining Committee

Dr. M. Ghafouri, Chair
Dr. L. Wang, Supervisor
Dr. W. Lucia, CIISE Examiner
Dr. D. Qiu, External Examiner (ECE)



A managed security service provider (MSSP) must collect security event logs from their customers' network for monitoring and cybersecurity protection. These logs need to be processed by the MSSP before displaying it to the security operation center (SOC) analysts. The employees generate event logs during their working hours at the customers' site. One challenge is that collected event logs consist of personally identifiable information (PII) data; visible in clear text to the SOC analysts or any user with access to the SIEM platform.

We explore how pseudonymization can be applied to security event logs to help protect individuals' identities from the SOC analysts while preserving data utility when possible. We compare the impact of using different pseudonymization functions on sensitive information or PII. Non-deterministic methods provide higher level of privacy but reduced utility of the data.

Our contribution in this thesis is threefold. First, we study available architectures with different threat models, including their strengths and weaknesses. Second, we study pseudonymization functions and their application to PII fields; we benchmark them individually, as well as in our experimental platform. Last, we obtain valuable feedbacks and lessons from SOC analysts based on their experience.

Existing works [58, 59, 60, 54] are generally restricting to the anonymization of the IP traces, which is only one part of the SOC analysts' investigation of PCAP les inspection. In one of the closest work [63], the authors provide useful, practical anonymization methods for the IP addresses, ports, and raw logs.

Graduate Program Coordinators

For more information, contact Silvie Pasquarelli or Mireille Wahba.

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