Nav: Home

Game-theoretic model combines strategic and technical aspects of cyber attribution

February 28, 2017

A new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores how cyber attack victims should best respond.

The article presents a game-theoretic model called the Blame Game, which shows when a victim should tolerate an attack and when it should respond publicly. The best strategic choice depends on the vulnerability of the attacker, the victim's knowledge level, the potential payoff for various outcomes and the beliefs each player has about its attacker.

The model applies to a wide range of conflicts and provides guidance to policymakers about which parameters must be estimated to make a sound decision about attribution and blame. Analysis of the model suggests that in many cases it may be rational for nations to tolerate cyber attacks, even in the face of strong public criticism. It also shows how imbalances between adversaries' abilities to trace attacks back to their origin can be destabilizing.

The article is published in the Feb. 27 online edition of PNAS and comes as the United States faces increasing threats in cyberspace, including the recent widely publicized attacks against the Democratic National Committee and the Chinese theft of databases containing the personal information of 21.5 federal employees.

"Conflict is increasingly common and severe on the Internet today, as governments and corporations have recognized its potential as an instrument of power and control," said co-author Stephanie Forrest, a distinguished professor at the University of New Mexico and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

"Unlike nuclear technology, it can be extremely challenging to identify the party responsible for a cyber attack, and this complicates the strategic decision of when to assign blame. Our model elucidates these issues and identifies key parameters that must be considered in formulating a response," Forrest said.

At UNM, Dr. Forrest directs the Adaptive Computation Laboratory, where she leads interdisciplinary research and education programs, including work on computer security, software engineering, and biological modeling. She is also a member of the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI) and a co-principal investigator of the Advance at UNM project, which is dedicated to recruiting, retaining and advancing women and minority STEM faculty.
-end-
Other authors of the PNAS article include Benjamin Edwards, a recent Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNM, now a postdoctoral researcher at IBM Research; Alexander Furnas, a doctoral student at the University of Michigan's Department of Political Science and Robert Axelrod, Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Santa Fe Institute

Related Blame Articles:

Is the blog to blame for Vladimir Putin's 2011-12 elections defeat?
In the 2011-12 elections, Russia's government leaders underestimated the power of the internet and it impacted the outcome of the elections and spurred massive demonstrations in response to Vladimir Putin's stage-managing the presidential succession and evidence of widespread fraud.
Unique protein partly to blame for worm's digestive distress
A fusion protein unique to the Orsay virus that disrupts the digestive system of only one type of worm may be modified to treat infectious diseases, according to Rice University scientists.
Political affiliation, weight influence your opinion on fighting obesity, study finds
Self-reported overweight people, if they were Democrats are more likely to believe genetic factors cause obesity, while Republicans who see themselves are overweight still assign eating habits and lifestyle choices as the cause, according to a new study by two University of Kansas researchers.
Game theory could improve cyberwarfare strategy
Whether a nation should retaliate against a cyber attack is a complicated decision, and a new framework guided by game theory could help policymakers determine the best strategy.
Research finds we can civilize punishment by learning a perpetrator's unfortunate history
New research led by Lehigh University associate professor of psychology Michael Gill focuses on how spiteful, vindictive feelings can be removed from blame by offering a historicist narrative -- a story-like explanation of how someone's life history has led them to think, feel, and act as they do.
Game-theoretic model combines strategic and technical aspects of cyber attribution
How should nations respond to cyber attacks? According to a new game-theoretic model, the best strategic choice depends on the vulnerability of the attacker, the victim's knowledge level, the potential payoff for various outcomes and the beliefs each player has about its attacker.
A problem shared can be a problem doubled
Customers perceive one and the same service problem very differently, depending on whether they are affected as individuals or in a group.
Hot weather not to blame for Salmonella on egg farms
New research conducted by the University of Adelaide shows there is no greater risk of Salmonella contamination in the production of free range eggs in Australia due to hot summer weather, compared with other seasons.
Confidence influences eyewitness memory of crimes
New University of Liverpool research has found that co-witnesses to a crime can contaminate each other's memory of who committed it, but that the likelihood of this contamination occurring depends upon their confidence.
New research explores why people 'pass the buck'
People are more likely to del­e­gate decisions -- or 'pass the buck' -- when faced with choices that affect others than when those deci­sions affect only them­selves, according to new research from Mary Steffel, assis­tant pro­fessor of mar­keting in the D'Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness at Northeastern University.

Related Blame Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#518 With Genetic Knowledge Comes the Need for Counselling
This week we delve into genetic testing - for yourself and your future children. We speak with Jane Tiller, lawyer and genetic counsellor, about genetic tests that are available to the public, and what to do with the results of these tests. And we talk with Noam Shomron, associate professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, about technological advancements his lab has made in the genetic testing of fetuses.