Graduate School and Research Center In communication systems

A game-theoretical approach for finding optimal strategies in an intruder classification game

Dritsoula, Lemonia; Loiseau, Patrick; Musacchio, John

CDC 2012, 51st IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, December 10-13, 2012, Maui, Hawaii, USA

We consider a game in which a strategic defender classifies an intruder as spy or spammer. The classification is based on the number of file server and mail server attacks observed during a fixed window. The spammer naively attacks (with a known distribution) his main target: the mail server. The spy strategically selects the number of attacks on his main target: the file server. The defender strategically selects his classification policy: a threshold on the number of file server attacks. We model the interaction of the two players (spy and defender) as a nonzero-sum game: The defender needs to balance missed detections and false alarms in his objective function, while the spy has a tradeoff between attacking the file server more aggressively and increasing the chances of getting caught. We give a characterization of the Nash equilibria in mixed strategies, and demonstrate how the Nash equilibria can be computed in polynomial time. Our characterization gives interesting and non-intuitive insights on the players' strategies at equilibrium: The defender uniformly randomizes between a set of thresholds that includes very large values. The strategy of the spy is a truncated version of the spammer's distribution. We present numerical simulations that validate and illustrate our theoretical results.

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Department:Networking and Security
Eurecom ref:3814
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Bibtex: @inproceedings{EURECOM+3814, doi = { }, year = {2012}, title = {{A} game-theoretical approach for finding optimal strategies in an intruder classification game}, author = {{D}ritsoula, {L}emonia and {L}oiseau, {P}atrick and {M}usacchio, {J}ohn }, booktitle = {{CDC} 2012, 51st {IEEE} {C}onference on {D}ecision and {C}ontrol, {D}ecember 10-13, 2012, {M}aui, {H}awaii, {USA}}, address = {{M}aui, {UNITED} {STATES}}, month = {12}, url = {} }
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