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Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Non-Cooperative Game Theoretic Models for Cyber Security

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

About the Project

Cyber security is the assessment of, responding to and monitoring of the security of the cyberspace. It is difficult to pin down to one single scientific discipline, but rather relates to a number of domains and fields such as physical security, network security, security assessment frameworks and the human element. Game theory was originally invented in order to analyse real games mathematically. In general, it is used to model scenarios where participants have competing interests as it predicts consequences if several people are making decisions at the same time, and if the outcome depends on the decisions of the others.

In the recent literature, game theory has been successfully applied to cyber security in order to model attacker/defender scenarios. The aim of this project is to design, implement and test novel non-corporative game theoretical models based on linear algebra techniques and applying them to a range of cyber security related scenarios such as security assessment, cloud security and vulnerability patching. This will extend previous work including such as [1-5].

The scientific objectives of the project are:
• To devise a game theoretic model for cyber security scenarios between a defender and a cyber attacker;
• To analyse the game by computing its Nash Equilibria, in order to derive an optimal defense strategy;
• To design and implement a prototype tool for evaluating the above framework, implemented in the form of a publicly available tool.

Applicants should have an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Computer Science or related disciplines. In addition, they should have excellent programming skills in Matlab/Java and good working knowledge of mathematics, in particular linear algebra.

Qualified applicants are strongly encouraged to informally contact the supervising academic, Dr Eckhard Pfluegel (), to discuss the application.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates


[1] Maghrabi, L., & Pfluegel, E. (2015). Moving assets to the cloud: A game theoretic approach based on trust. Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment (CyberSA), 2015 International Conference on, 1–5.

[2] Maghrabi, L., Pfluegel, E., & Noorji, S. F. (2016). Designing Utility Functions for Game-Theoretic Cloud Security Assessment : A Case for Using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. In International Conference On Cyber Security And Protection Of Digital Services (Cyber Security). London: IEEE.

[3] Maghrabi, L., Pfluegel, E., Al-Fagih, L., Graf, R., Settanni, G., & Skopik, F. (2017). Improved Software Vulnerability Patching Techniques Using CVSS and Game Theory. In International Conference On Cyber Security And Protection Of Digital Services (Cyber Security). London: IEEE.

[4] Mohebbi Moghaddam, M., Manshaei, M. H., & Zhu, Q. (2015). To Trust or Not: A Security Signaling Game Between Service Provider and Client. (M. H. R. Khouzani, E. Panaousis, & G. Theodorakopoulos, Eds.), Decision and Game Theory for Security: 6th International Conference, GameSec 2015. Springer International Publishing.

[5] Panaousis, E., Fielder, A., Malacaria, P., Hankin, C., & Smeraldi, F. (2014). Cybersecurity Games and Investments: A Decision Support Approach. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 266–286.

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