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Bridging the Gap: A Pragmatic Approach to Generating Insider Threat Data

May 2013 Conference Paper
Joshua Glasser (ExactData, LLC), Brian Lindauer

We outline the use of synthetic data to enable progress in one research program. This asset includes links to test datasets


IEEE Computer Society


The threat of malicious insider activity continues to be of paramount concern in both the public and private sectors. Though there is great interest in advancing the state of the art in predicting and stopping these threats, the difficulty of obtaining suitable data for research, development, and testing remains a significant hinderance. We outline the use of synthetic data to enable progress in one research program, while discussing the benefits and limitations of synthetic insider threat data, the meaning of realism in this context, as well as future research directions.

Dataset Details

The CERT Division, in partnership with ExactData, LLC, and under sponsorship from DARPA I2O, has generated a collection of synthetic insider threat test datasets. These datasets provide both synthetic background data and data from synthetic malicious actors.

Datasets are organized according to the data generator release that created them. Most releases include multiple datasets (e.g., r3.1 and r3.2). Generally, later releases include a superset of the data generation functionality of earlier releases. Each dataset file contains a readme file that provides detailed notes about the features of that release.

The answer key file answers.tar.bz2 contains the details of the malicious activity included in each dataset, including descriptions of the scenarios enacted and the identifiers of the synthetic users involved.

Download Test Datasets

The datasets are available for download from