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RETRACTED ARTICLE: Network security threat detection technology based on EPSO-BP algorithm

This article was retracted on 07 May 2024

This article has been updated


With the development of Internet technology, the large number of network nodes and dynamic structure makes network security detection more complex, which requires the use of a multi-layer feedforward neural network to build a security threat detection model to improve network security protection. Therefore, the entropy model is adopted to optimize the particle swarm algorithm to decode particles, and then the single-peak and multi-peak functions are used to test and compare the particle entropy and fitness values to optimize the weights and thresholds in the multi-layer feedforward neural network. Finally, Suspicious Network Event Recognition Dataset discovered by data mining is sampled and applied to the entropy model particle swarm optimization for training. The test results show that there are four functions for the optimal mean and standard deviation in this algorithm, with values of 5.712e − 02, 4.805e − 02, 4.914e − 01, 1.066e − 01, 1.577e − 01, 1.343e − 01, and 2.089e + 01, 5.926, respectively. Overall, the algorithm proposed in the study is the best. Finally, the detection rate of attack types is calculated. The multi-layer feedforward neural network algorithm is 83.80%, the particle swarm optimization neural network algorithm is 91.00%, and the entropy model particle swarm optimization algorithm is 95.00%. The experiment shows that the research model has high accuracy in detecting network security threats, which can provide technical support and theoretical assistance for network security protection.

1 Introduction

Network security threat detection (NSTD) is an important hotspot in network security protection research, widely used in environments with abundant intelligent terminals and numerous internet nodes. Network security detection is the process of scanning a system through network security technology to detect issues such as vulnerabilities and web page attacks. NSTD mainly scans and detects detection targets and attack types. In object detection, the security threat issues of the Internet of Things mostly involve using data technology to monitor network attacks, constructing target models for monitoring and defense, and using machine learning methods to detect results; cloud computing and AI will use corresponding methods to supplement the indicators of attack types. For the types of network attacks suffered by a wide range of network systems and terminal devices, classification and re-referencing algorithms can be used to construct models and accurately scan and defend against attacks. In recent years, many scholars have conducted extensive research on the target system, attack types, and model construction of NSTD, providing a research foundation for optimizing neural networks and improving algorithms, thereby improving the detection accuracy of the model. Based on this, this paper deeply analyzes the optimization of the NSTD framework, particle swarm optimization algorithm (PSO), and Back Propagation Neural Network (BPNN), and constructs the network security detection technology of entropy model PSO (EPSO) algorithm combined with BPNN (EPSO-BP). The purpose is to accurately detect network attacks and provide technical reference for defense solutions for network security.

The paper mainly discusses from four parts. The first part is to elaborate and summarize the relevant research on the detection targets and algorithm applications of current network security protection strategies. The second part clarifies the model framework of the EPSO-BP algorithm and explains the EPSO algorithm and optimized BPNN. The third part is to conduct functional experiments and analysis on PSO and BPNN to demonstrate the feasibility of EPSO-BP algorithm for NSTD. The final part is a summary of the entire study.

2 Related works

The core of network security defense lies in detection and defense, and the current situation of network security issues is complex and severe, requiring preparation for its detection and defense work. In recent years, many scholars have conducted a lot of research on NSTD. Tan et al. proposed using data technology to monitor network attacks in response to the network security issues of the AI Internet of Things (IoT) [1]. It provides feasible solutions for network security threats by constructing a honeynet technology model for threat detection and situational awareness. Regarding attack detection, Yu et al. proposed using deep learning to detect attack sequences and establishing a deep learning model, which has a high accuracy in detecting attack sequences [2]. Waqas et al. proposed to classify security threats and use AI technology to solve attack problems, which provides basic assistance for AI research on solving advanced security threats [3]. Yuan et al. proposed using multi-layer analysis technology to detect network abnormal behavior in the detection of Advanced Persistent Threat (ATP), and then compared and evaluated it using machine learning to demonstrate the efficiency of this technology in ATP attack detection [4]. El Kafhali et al. constructed a technical tutorial on threat identification in cloud computing and classified attacks and privacy challenges. They also summarized defense mechanisms for security assessment and provided future directions for cloud security [5]. Xie and others cited the Generative adversarial network (GAN) model to train attack samples for issues related to the security threat of the automobile controller area network. The enhanced GAN model has a high detection accuracy [6]. Preveneers et al. proposed using machine learning models to supplement threat detection metrics to protect the model and share threat intelligence in response to issues related to Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) [7]. Haji et al. proposed using machine learning methods to identify suspicious actions in order to address IoT security threats. They achieved threat detection by comparing attack and anomaly detection data from various algorithms [8]. Tao J and others proposed to use the Deep reinforcement learning method to monitor intrusion threats and malicious attacks against the threat of UAV computing network. This study discusses the threats and countermeasures faced by drones in aviation to ensure their safe operation [9]. To solve the problem of malicious threats in industrial IoT devices, Khan et al. proposed to optimize the genetic algorithm of the hidden Markov model and extract features in the dynamic sliding window. This model has high accuracy [10]. Regarding the current status of content delivery network security, Ghaznavi et al. proposed to classify its security challenges. They discussed and emphasized the necessity of content delivery network security [11]. Pamarthi et al. analyzed various types of datasets and attack types and finally summarized the importance of designing intrusion detection systems for IoT security protection [12]. Saheed et al. proposed using the normalization concept to classify nine types of attacks on modern datasets in response to IoT security issues. It was validated using six models, which showed good accuracy [13]. The security attack classification proposed by Ahmad I and Bhayo et al. provides effective assistance in evaluating the attack range of IoT devices [14, 15].

In summary, although a large number of researchers have conducted many experiments on network security threats, there is still a lack of algorithm application and targeted research on the use of detection targets and methods. Therefore, this study constructed an NSTD based on the EPSO-BP algorithm, which has high advantages of precision algorithms.

3 NSTD technology based on EPSO-BP algorithm

To address the hidden dangers of network security, research on network threat detection is the mainstream direction of modern network security. The network space structure is complex, and security protection issues are becoming increasingly severe. Improving the accuracy of NSTD can be achieved through security threat testing using PSO and combined with the BPNN algorithm structure.

3.1 NSTD framework model

In complex network environments, to study NSTD and defense technologies, a new network threat detection model is constructed by combining PSO and BPNN. The framework of the model includes data preprocessing, PSO execution, and BPNN model data detection, as shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Network security threat detection model

In Fig. 1, the execution of NSTD is mainly divided into three steps. The first step is data preprocessing, which organizes and transforms the obtained Suspicious Network Event Recognition Dataset into numerical features, and standardizes and normalizes the data. Secondly, the entropy model is introduced into PSO for optimization, and the standard dataset from the previous step is added to adjust the inertia weight and output accuracy. Finally, BPNN utilizes PSO to perfect the weights and thresholds, and intrusion data is input into the model to verify the detection accuracy and false positive and false negative rates of BPNN. There are two main steps in data preprocessing: one is one-shot encoding of symbolic attributes, and the other is 122-dimensional feature normalization. The first step is to convert three symbolic attributes out of the 41 attributes in the intrusion data into easily recognizable and processed data type data; Then, the three values of Transfer Control Protocol (TCP), User Data Protocol (UDP), and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) in the protocol type attribute feature structure are expanded to a three-dimensional feature vector, as shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Attribute mapping encoding diagram

In Fig. 2, the encoding expands the values of the three protocols TCP, UDP, and ICMP into vectors [1, 0, 0], [0, 1, 0], and [0, 0, 1], respectively, and establishes corresponding relationships. Then, the data from the first step is subjected to MAX–MIN processing. The formula used is Eq. (1).


In Eq. (1), P is the attribute value, MAX is the maximum value of the attribute feature, and MIN is the minimum value of the attribute feature. Normalize 122-dimensional numerical data to the range of [0,1] according to the formula. The second step is to analyze the classical particle swarm search (PSS) process before optimizing using the entropy model. In the classical PSO, the linearly decreasing inertia weight could just affect the global direction of the PSS and cannot accurately control every update of the algorithm, which limits its search advantages and reduces its efficiency. The information entropy model formula defined by Shannon is Eq. (2).


In Eq. (2), N(a) represents the entropy value of the a th update, and W represents the total number of particles in the particle swarm. \(f({y}_{ab})\) is the weight value of the b th particle in the search process in the a th update. The conditions that need to be met are Eqs. (3) and (4).


In Eq. (3), \(f({y}_{ab})\) is the weight of the b th particle in the search process during the a th update.


Equation (4) represents the proportion of particle fitness values in the overall population fitness values, with \({h}_{ab}\) being the fitness value. According to the above formula, the larger the value of N(a), the smaller the difference in fitness values for each particle, and the more all particles gather; on the contrary, the more dispersed all particles are.

3.2 PSO based on entropy model

Based on the three stages and characteristics of the classical PSS process, an information entropy model is utilized to quantitatively analyze the PSS process and propose corresponding inertia weight dynamic adjustment optimization strategies to improve the PSO’s search efficiency. The entropy value image of the initial breadth search shows a jittery decline, and the particle swarm is most scattered when it reaches its lowest point. Therefore, the entropy difference is taken to represent the entropy change after two adjacent iterations, as Eq. (5).


In Eq. (5), \(difference\left(a\right)\) represents the difference in the entropy values of the particle swarm after the a th and a-1 th iterations. When the difference is less than zero, the more dispersed the particle swarm becomes; When the difference is greater than zero, the particle swarm will gather. The initial strategy of PSO is to increase the inertia weight by 0.1 in the next iteration when the difference is less than zero, thereby improving the particle swarm breadth searchability. The relevant formula is Eq. (6).

$$d\left(a\right)={d}_{min}+\left({d}_{max}-{d}_{min}\right)\times \left(1-\frac{a}{\mathrm{Maximum\ Iterations}}\right)+0.1$$

In Eq. (6), d(a) represents the inertia weight formula. When the entropy difference is greater than 0, the inertia weight formula remains unchanged due to its linear descent, and its expression is Eq. (7).

$$d\left(a\right)={d}_{min}+\left({d}_{max}-{d}_{min}\right)\times \left(1-\frac{a}{\mathrm{Maximum\ Iterations}}\right)$$

In Eq. (7), \({d}_{min}\) represents the minimum value of inertia weight, \({d}_{max}\) represents the maximum value of inertia weight, and Maximum Iterations represents the maximum number of iterations. During the initial breadth search period, the inertia weight continues to decrease as the number of updates increases. When the entropy value has decreased to the lowest value, the initial search ends. The entropy value immediately rises and begins the mid-term search of the particle swarm, which is in partial search work and quickly constrains the optimal value. In the mid-term, the main task is to reset the inertia weight that reaches the lowest value, set it to 0.9 to linearly decrease, and enter a partial search. The relevant formula is Eq. (8).

$$d\left(a\right)={d}_{min}+\left({d}_{max}-{d}_{min}\right)\times \frac{\left(1-(a-BF)\right)}{\mathrm{Maximum\ Iterations}}$$

In Eq. (8), BF represents the number of iterations when the entropy value of the particle swarm is the lowest. The particle swarm in the mid-term starts performing local search work after breadth search. The formula for the entropy value of the final particle swarm is Eq. (9).


In Eq. (9), \(EntrophyLast\) is the final entropy value of the particle swarm. \(totality\) is the sum of particles in the particle swarm. When the entropy reaches its final value, the particle swarm has been limited to partial optima. So in the late stage, the constraint on PSS is that when its entropy value approaches the final entropy value, the difference between the two is minimal and the PSS ends, reducing computational complexity. Figure 3 shows the structure of EPSO.

Fig. 3
figure 3

EPSO process

Figure 3 uses an entropy model to analyze the PSS features and continuously adjusts the inertia weight to improve the particle swarm suppression speed.

3.3 EPSO combined with BPNN algorithm structure

EPSO combines the BPNN structure to optimize PSS and then optimizes the entropy and fitness values. Therefore, single-peak sphere, Rosenbrock function, and multi-peak Ackley, Griewank, and Rastigin functions are used to calculate the particle entropy and fitness of the algorithm. The unimodal sphere and Rosenbrock function formulas are Formula (10) and (11).

$${F}_{1}\left(A\right)={\sum }_{t=1}^{D}{a}_{t}^{2}$$

In Eq. (10), a is the independent variable of the function, D is the dimension of the function variable, A is the value of the independent variable, and t is the number of iterations.

$${F}_{2}\left(A\right)={\sum }_{t=1}^{D-1}(100{\left({a}_{t+1}-{a}_{t}^{2}\right)}^{2}+{(1-a_t)}^{2})$$

In Eq. (11), t + 1 is the iteration numbers. The formulas for the multimodal Ackley, Griewank, and Rastigin functions are Eqs. (12), (13), and (14).

$${F}_{3}\left(A\right)=20+e-20{\text{exp}}\left({-}_{0.2}\sqrt{\frac{1}{D\sum_{t=1}^{D}{a}_{t}^{2}}}\right)-{\text{exp}}\left(\frac{1}{D\sum_{t=1}^{D}{\text{cos}}(2\pi {a}_{t})}\right)$$

In Eq. (12), a is the function independent variable, D is the function variable dimension, A is the value of the independent variable, \(\pi\) is the value of Pi, e is the natural constant, exp is the exponential function with e as the base, and cos is the cosine function in the trigonometric functions.

$${F}_{4}\left(A\right)={\sum }_{t=1}^{D}\frac{{a}_{t}^{2}}{4000}-{\prod }_{t=1}^{D}{\text{cos}}\left(\frac{{a}_{t}}{\sqrt{t}}\right)+1$$

The symbolic meaning of Formula (13) is consistent with that of Formula (12).

$${F}_{5}\left(A\right)={\sum }_{t=1}^{D}({a}_{t}^{2}-10{\text{cos}}\left(2\pi {a}_{t}\right)+10)$$

As Formula (12), in Formula (14), the position of the particle changes with its speed. Use PSO to find the best position of the particle, and take the Mean squared error index as the fitness function of the particle swarm, as Formula (15).

$$fitnee\left(p\right)=\frac{1}{2}Z{{\sum }_{x=1}^{z}{\sum }_{s=0}^{M}\left({G}_{s,x}\left(p\right)-{r}_{s,x}\right)}^{2}$$

In Eq. (15), \(fitnee\left(p\right)\) is the fitness function, Z is the number of samples, and M is the output value of the neural network neuron; \({r}_{s,x}\) is the s th ideal output value of sample x, and \({G}_{s,x}\) is the s th true output value of x. Figure 4 shows the structure of the fitness function algorithm by combining EPSO and BPNN algorithms.

Fig. 4
figure 4

BPNN algorithm structure based on EPSO

From Fig. 4, that part of the structure chart calculates the correct rate of BPNN prediction, and the other part is the calculation of the fitness function algorithm; both of them initialize and analyze the BPNN, decode the weight threshold, set parameters, and train the network, and finally output the correct rate and mean squared error respectively. Combined with EPSO, continue to execute BPNN, as Fig. 5.

Fig. 5
figure 5

Flow chart of BPNN algorithm based on EPSO

From Fig. 5, using EPSO to improve the connections’ weights and thresholds in BPNN. The calculation of entropy difference and entropy value is related to the updating and improvement of the neural network. Finally, data training and prediction were conducted on the BPNN parameters to obtain the statistical results of accuracy.

4 PSO and BPNN algorithm experiments

To demonstrate the feasibility of the algorithm, experimental analysis was conducted on PSO and BPNN. PSO mainly focuses on the optimization analysis of the classical PSS process and entropy model; the experiment of BPNN uses the Suspicious Network Event Recognition Dataset as the test dataset and performs preprocessing work to analyze various experimental indicators. The experiment uses an information entropy model to quantitatively analyze the stage characteristics of the classical PSS process and adjusts the inertia weights accordingly. The experiment uses a single-peak sphere, Rosenbrock, and multi-peak Rastigin to analyze the PSS. The quantitative analysis set the particle number to 200, the single particle size to 30, and the total update iterations to 500. Figure 6 is the function test values.

Fig. 6
figure 6

Entropy variation of particle swarm in function

From Fig. 6, the entropy values of typical particle groups exhibit consistent characteristics. The initial entropy values show a rapid downward trend, the mid-term entropy values show an upward trend, and the end entropy values remain stable and unchanged. From this summary, the initial stage was breadth search, and the entropy graph showed a downward trend, indicating that the particle swarm was expanding its search range to find the optimal value; The mid-term is deep search, with an upward trend in the image indicating that the particle swarm is conducting deep exploration around the current optimal value; the final stage is an invalid iteration, and the effect of image stability on entropy value can be ignored. In order to test the representativeness of the data, the weight increment parameter was compared and analyzed to find the optimal individual fitness, set to a reasonable value of 0.1. Figure 7 shows experimental data for five functions.

Fig. 7
figure 7

Incremental experiment under unimodal function

From Fig. 7, it can be observed that in the unimodal function graph, when the increase in inertia weight is 0.1, the entropy value of the particle swarm decreases and the individual fitness is more constrained. When the inertia weight increment of the multimodal function is 0.1, the constraint speed of the entropy change and individual fitness value of the particle swarm is faster, and the accuracy of the Ackley and Rastigin functions is higher. When the increment of inertia weight is 0.1, the PSS can reach the optimal state faster. In addition, update the mid-term inertia weight values of classical PSO and compare them with the initial inertia weight values, and then compare the inertia weight values in unimodal and multimodal functions, as Fig. 8.

Fig. 8
figure 8

Experiment on resetting inertia weight strategy under function

From the experiment in Fig. 8, it can be concluded that increasing the inertia weight value in the function leads to a lower decrease in the entropy value of the particle swarm compared to the initial inertia weight, which in turn leads the particle swarm to enter the stage of breadth search. In the graph of individual fitness changes, it was found that the particle swarm constraint speed under sphere is faster, Griewank’s accuracy is higher, and Ackley and Rastigin’s two sets of values are better than the unimodal function. The impact of inertia weight tactics in the late stage of PSS on the particle swarm algorithm compared to the early stage is displayed in Fig. 9.

Fig. 9
figure 9

Function truncation strategy experiment

In Fig. 9, the closer the entropy value of the particle swarm approaches the final entropy value in unimodal and multimodal functions, the smaller the change in the fitness value of the particle swarm. The use of interrupt invalid iteration methods can reduce the meaningless computational burden of particle swarm optimization. To demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the algorithm, the parameters of PSO, linear decreasing, nonlinear inertia weight, traditional adaptive, new adaptive, and EPSO algorithms are fixed. Then the function is used to test the constraint speed and accuracy of the six algorithms, where F1 and F2 represent the unimodal sphere and Rosenbrock function, and F3, F4, and F5 represent the multimodal Ackley, Griewink, and Rastigin functions. The variable dimension D of all functions is 30, the population size totality is 200, the maximum number of update iterations is 500, and the optimal value is 0. In the search space, F1 is [− 100100], F2 is [− 30,30], F3 and F5 are both [− 5.12], and F4 is [− 600600]; In the optimal solution, F1, F3, F4, and F5 are all [0… 0], and F2 is [1… 1]. Compare the mean and standard deviation (Std. Dev) of six algorithms in the same experimental environment, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Optimization results of multiple algorithms for test functions

Table 1 shows the optimal results of five functions among six algorithms. The F1 function has a mean of 5.712e − 02 and Std. Dev of 4.805e − 02 in EPSO; F2 is 4.598e + 01, 3.013e + 01; F3 is 4.914e − 01 and 1.066e − 01; F4 is 1.577e − 01 and 1.343e − 01; F5 is 2.089e + 01, 5.926. The F3, F4, and F5 functions all achieved the best results, and the accuracy of EPSO was better than other algorithms, mean, and Std The value of Dev is small. To further verify the superiority of EPSO-BP, PSO-BP and EPSO-BP were tested in the same environment using the Suspicious Network Event Recognition Dataset and their accuracy, false positive rate, and false positive rate were compared. EPSO uses entropy difference to adjust the inertia weight of PSO. First, compare the entropy and fitness of EPSO-BP and PSO-BP, then conduct BPNN training and compare the results of Mean squared error. Both algorithms use the same number of particles and the maximum number of iterations, and the results are Fig. 10.

Fig. 10
figure 10

Comparison of particle swarm entropy and fitness values

In Fig. 10, the particle swarm entropy of EPSO-BP shows the lowest decrease, indicating that it has a fast search speed and can perform breadth search more advantageously. In the comparison of optimal fitness values, EPSO-BP is superior to PSO-BP. The Mean squared error value of EPSO-BP decreases the fastest, indicating that its optimal particle decoding is more advantageous when it becomes weight and threshold. Overall, the correct detection rate, missed alarm rate, and false alarm rate of EPSO-BP are superior to EPSO-BP.

There are four main types of network attacks, including Denial of Service Attack (DoS), User to Root Attack (U2R), Remote to Local Attack (R2L), and Probing (Prob). Al Shahrani B M M et al. proposed a deep learning-based network attack detection and classification technology for threat classification and detection, which has good performance in network attack detection [16]. Bamhdi et al. proposed an ensemble algorithm to solve a single classifier and construct an ensemble model for effective methods of intrusion detection, which performed well in detecting the main types of attacks [17]. Kumar and Shakeel et al. proposed the use of neural network features to identify and train malicious attacks in response to network security threats, thereby providing research assistance in avoiding security threats [18, 19]. To compare the performance of BPNN and PSO-BP, set the same algorithm hidden layer and select the best number of layers, then input training data into BPNN and detect it. As Table 2.

Table 2 Comparison of intrusion detection results of three algorithms

In Table 2, the lower correct detection rate is 83.80% for BPNN, 91.00% for PSO-BP, and the highest detection rate is 96.57% for EPSO-BP, indicating that EPSO-BP has the best optimization ability for BPNN. Among the results of false positive and false positive rates, EPSO-BP has the lowest, which also proves the superiority of EPSO-BP in optimizing BPNN. It was also found that the recognition rates of these three algorithms for the three security types (normal, probing, DOS) were all higher than 80%, while the recognition rates for U2R and R2L were lower, with BPNN being 24.31% and 26.78%, PSO-BP being 31.56% and 23.61%, and EPSO-BP being 37.54% and 36.89%. It is said that the lack of attack data between the two makes the training of BPNN unable to achieve optimal results. The security threat detection of EPSO-BP can fully leverage the benefits of PSS breadth and BPNN local search, and its classification results are also more effective than BPNN and PSO-BP. Ultimately, it indicates that EPSO-BPNN owns a better ability to identify and detect network intrusion data.

5 Conclusion

A NSTD model based on EPSO-BP has been studied and constructed for network security detection and defense issues. It first applies the information entropy model to the particle swarm algorithm and optimizes it, calculating the particle swarm entropy difference and fitness value to update the inertia weight value of BPNN. Secondly, five functions were used to compare the calculations of mean and Std. Dev for the six algorithms, and the optimal values for each function in the algorithm were obtained. The values of F1 in EPSO are 5.712e − 02 and 4.805e − 02, respectively. The values of F2 in CPSO are 4.598e + 01 and 3.013e + 01. The F3, F4, and F5 functions all achieved optimal values of 4.914e − 01 and 1.066e − 01, 1.577e − 01 and 1.343e − 01, 2.089e + 01, and 5.926 in EPSO, respectively. Overall, the accuracy of EPSO is relatively high and superior to other algorithms. Then, the optimized particle swarm optimization algorithm was used to optimize the BPNN and calculate the detection rates of the six algorithms for the main attack types. The results showed that the BPNN was 83.80%, PSO-BP was 91.00%, and EPSO-BP was 95.00%. This indicates the efficient accuracy of EPSO-BP and also demonstrates its advantage in addressing network security threats. However, the model lacks multidimensional security threat analysis and historical situation analysis, so further research and improvement are needed regarding NSTD technology.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Lan, Z. RETRACTED ARTICLE: Network security threat detection technology based on EPSO-BP algorithm. EURASIP J. on Info. Security 2024, 6 (2024).

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  • Published:

  • DOI: