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Proceedings Paper

Hypergame theory applied to cyber attack and defense
Author(s): James Thomas House; George Cybenko
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Paper Abstract

This work concerns cyber attack and defense in the context of game theory—specifically hypergame theory. Hypergame theory extends classical game theory with the ability to deal with differences in players' expertise, differences in their understanding of game rules, misperceptions, and so forth. Each of these different sub-scenarios, or subgames, is associated with a probability—representing the likelihood that the given subgame is truly "in play" at a given moment. In order to form an optimal attack or defense policy, these probabilities must be learned if they're not known a-priori. We present hidden Markov model and maximum entropy approaches for accurately learning these probabilities through multiple iterations of both normal and modified game play. We also give a widely-applicable approach for the analysis of cases where an opponent is aware that he is being studied, and intentionally plays to spoil the process of learning and thereby obfuscate his attributes. These are considered in the context of a generic, abstract cyber attack example. We demonstrate that machine learning efficacy can be heavily dependent on the goals and styles of participant behavior. To this end detailed simulation results under various combinations of attacker and defender behaviors are presented and analyzed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 May 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7666, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX, 766604 (4 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852338
Show Author Affiliations
James Thomas House, Dartmouth College (United States)
George Cybenko, Dartmouth College (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7666:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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