A Transfer Learning Approach for Securing Resource-Constrained IoT Devices

Yilmaz S., AYDOĞAN E., Sen S.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INFORMATION FORENSICS AND SECURITY, vol.16, pp.4405-4418, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tifs.2021.3096029
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.4405-4418
  • Keywords: Transfer learning, Intrusion detection, Statistics, Sociology, Internet of Things, Task analysis, Genetic programming, IoT, security, transfer learning, intrusion detection, genetic programming, RPL, LOW-POWER, ROUTING PROTOCOL, INTERNET, ATTACKS, ALGORITHM, NETWORKS, THINGS, RPL
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


In recent years, Internet of Things (IoT) security has attracted significant interest by researchers due to new characteristics of IoT such as heterogeneity of devices, resource constraints, and new types of attacks targeting IoT. Intrusion detection, which is an indispensable part of a security system, is also included in these studies. In order to explore the complex characteristics of IoT, machine learning methods, which rely on long training time to generate intrusion detection models, are proposed in the literature. Furthermore, these systems need to learn a new/fresh model from scratch when the environment changes. This study explores the use of transfer learning in order to generate intrusion detection algorithms for such dynamically changing IoT. Transfer learning is an approach that stores knowledge learned from a problem domain/task and applies that knowledge to another problem domain/task. Here, it is employed in the following two settings: transferring knowledge for generating suitable intrusion algorithms for new devices, transferring knowledge for detecting new types of attacks. In this study, Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Network (RPL), a routing protocol for resource-constrained wireless networks, is used as an exemplar protocol and specific attacks against RPL are targeted. The experimental results show that the transfer learning approach gives better performance than the traditional approach. Moreover, the proposed approach significantly reduces learning time, which is an important factor for putting devices/networks in operation in a timely manner. Even though transfer learning has been considered a potential candidate for improving IoT security, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first application of transfer learning under these two settings in RPL-based IoT networks.