TH Nguyen, M Wright, MP Wellman, and S Singh

Security and Communication Networks, Article ID 2864873, 28 pages, 2018.

Extended version of a paper presented at the Fourth ACM Workshop on Moving Target Defense, Oct 2017.


We study the problem of allocating limited security countermeasures to protect network data from cyber-attacks, for scenarios modeled by Bayesian attack graphs. We consider multistage interactions between a network administrator and cybercriminals, formulated as a security game. This formulation is capable of representing security environments with significant dynamics and uncertainty and very large strategy spaces. We propose parameterized heuristic strategies for the attacker and defender and provide detailed analysis of their time complexity. Our heuristics exploit the topological structure of attack graphs and employ sampling methods to overcome the computational complexity in predicting opponent actions. Due to the complexity of the game, we employ a simulation-based approach and perform empirical game analysis over an enumerated set of heuristic strategies. Finally, we conduct experiments in various game settings to evaluate the performance of our heuristics in defending networks, in a manner that is robust to uncertainty about the security environment.


SCN journal version

MTD workshop version