Identifying high cardinality internet hosts

Jin Cao, Yu Jin, Aiyou Chen, Tian Bu, Zhi-Li Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

72 Scopus citations


The Internet host cardinality, defined as the number of distinct peers that an Internet host communicates with, is an important metric for profiling Internet hosts. Some example applications include behavior based network intrusion detection, p2p hosts identification, and server identification. However, due to the tremendous number of hosts in the Internet and high speed links, tracking the exact cardinality of each host is not feasible due to the limited memory and computation resource. Existing approaches on host cardinality counting have primarily focused on hosts of extremely high cardinalities. These methods do not work well with hosts of moderately large cardinalities that are needed for certain host behavior profiling such as detection of p2p hosts or port scanners. In this paper, we propose an online sampling approach for identifying hosts whose cardinality exceeds some moderate prescribed threshold, e.g. 50, or within specific ranges. The main advantage of our approach is that it can filter out the majority of low cardinality hosts while preserving the hosts of interest, and hence minimize the memory resources wasted by tracking irrelevant hosts. Our approach consists of three components: 1) two-phase filtering for eliminating low cardinality hosts, 2) thresholded bitmap for counting cardinalities, and 3) bias correction. Through both theoretical analysis and experiments using real Internet traces, we demonstrate that our approach requires much less memory than existing approaches do whereas yields more accurate estimates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE INFOCOM 2009 - The 28th Conference on Computer Communications
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2009
Event28th Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2009 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: Apr 19 2009Apr 25 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Other28th Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2009
CityRio de Janeiro


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