ProGraph: Robust Network Traffic Identification with Graph Propagation

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking. (ToN) 2022,

Wenhao Li,Xiao-Yu Zhang,Huaifeng Bao, Haichao Shi, Qiang Wang.


Network traffic identification is critical for effective network management. Existing methods mostly focus on invariant network environments with stable attribute distributions. Unfortunately, however, they can hardly be adaptive to the variation of practical networks and suffer from significant performance degradation. This problem largely stems from the over-dependence of existing methods on the vulnerable side-channel features. To address this issue, in this paper we propose a graph-based approach, namely ProGraph, to ensure robust network traffic classification among various network environments. The core idea of ProGraph is to construct a correlation graph with session clusters aggregated from different networks, based on which graph propagation can be effectively implemented to predict labels of testing nodes in an iterative manner. ProGraph enhances the correlation between clusters of the same class to provide reliable paths for label dissemination from the labeled clusters to the testing ones. It is encouraging to see that the proposed ProGraph achieves an accuracy of 92.25% in networks with constant attributes, while remaining stable with the accuracy of 90.89% when deployed in different networks, which significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches. Meanwhile, ProGraph can accurately identify the novel classes which do not exist in the training dataset, with an AUC of 95.11. Last but not least, a carefully constructed dataset, namely CrossNet2021, containing network traffic of 20 classes of applications from two distinct networking scenarios, is made publicly available to support further research.