Skip to Main Content
Alert correlation is a process that analyzes the alerts produced by one or more intrusion detection systems and provides a more succinct and high-level view of occurring or attempted intrusions. Even though the correlation process is often presented as a single step, the analysis is actually carried out by a number of components, each of which has a specific goal. Unfortunately, most approaches to correlation concentrate on just a few components of the process, providing formalisms and techniques that address only specific correlation issues. This paper presents a general correlation model that includes a comprehensive set of components and a framework based on this model. A tool using the framework has been applied to a number of well-known intrusion detection data sets to identify how each component contributes to the overall goals of correlation. The results of these experiments show that the correlation components are effective in achieving alert reduction and abstraction. They also show that the effectiveness of a component depends heavily on the nature of the data set analyzed.