Proactive insider threat detection through graph learning and psychological context



IEEE Workshop on Research for Insider Threat (WRIT)

2012 May 25; San Francisco, CA


Brdiczka, Oliver
Liu, Juan J.
Jianqiang Shen
Chow, Richard
Ducheneaut, Nicolas

Proactive insider threat detection through graph learning and psychological context

The annual incidence of insider attacks continues to grow, and there are indications this trend will continue. While there are a number of existing tools that can accurately identify known attacks, these are reactive (as opposed to proactive) in their enforcement, and may be eluded by previously unseen, adversarial behaviors. This paper proposes an approach that combines Structural Anomaly Detection (SA) from social and information networks and Psychological Profiling (PP) of individuals. SA uses technologies including graph analysis, dynamic tracking, and machine learning to detect structural anomalies in large-scale information network data, while PP constructs dynamic psychological profiles from behavioral patterns. Threats are finally identified through a fusion and ranking of outcomes from SA and PP. The proposed approach is illustrated by applying it to a large data set from a massively multi-player online game, World of Warcraft (WoW). The data set contains behavior traces from over 350,000 characters observed over a period of 6 months. SA is used to predict if and when characters quit their guild (a player association with similarities to a club or workgroup in non-gaming contexts), possibly causing damage to these social groups. PP serves to estimate the five-factor personality model for all characters. Both threads show good results on the gaming data set and thus validate the proposed approach.

Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Licensing & Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for¬†Commercialization.


PARC scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.