Game Theory for Cyber Deception

strategic trust

Devices in the IoT must decide whether to trust other agents that may be self-interested or malicious. Game theory can be used to study interdependent strategic decisions. Chapter 5 studies obfuscation used to protect information privacy.

active defense

Defenders can augment traditional security techniques with active defense: "synchronized, real-time capability to discover, detect, analyze, and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities" [DoD 2011]. Chapter 6-7 study honeypots and dynamic honeynets.


Defending the Internet of controlled things (IoCT) requires a multi-layer approach that is capable of protecting both cyber and physical resources. Chapter 8 studies cyber-physical transportation security.

broadcast deception

Attackers often send deceptive messages to many devices, searching for low-hanging fruit. Assessing the population-based risk demands decision-making models that handle large numbers of agents with varying abilities to detect deception. For this purpose, Chapter 9 proposes Poisson signaling games.

This book [Pawlick and Zhu 2021] uses game theory to conceptualize, model, and analyze cyber deception. Drawing upon a collection of deception research from the past 10 years, the authors develop a taxonomy of six species of defensive cyber deception. Three of these six species are highlighted in the context of emerging problems such as privacy against ubiquitous tracking in the Internet of things (IoT), dynamic honeynets for the observation of advanced persistent threats (APTs), and active defense against physical denial-of-service (PDoS) attacks. Because of its uniquely thorough treatment of cyber deception, this book will serve as a timely contribution and valuable resource in this active field.

The book is well-suited for both security practitioners interested in game theory and researchers or students with a background in game theory looking to enter cybersecurity.

Book Table of contents

Part I Fundamentals

  1. Introduction

  2. Nash and Stackelberg Games

  3. Introduction to Incomplete Information

Part II Defensive Deception

  1. A Taxonomy of Defensive Deception

  2. Obfuscation

  3. Honey-X

  4. Attacker Engagement

Part III Mitigation of Malicious Deception

  1. Strategic Trust

  2. Active Crowd Defense

Part IV Challenges and Opportunities in Cyber Deception

  1. Insights and Future Directions

  2. Current Challenges in Cyber Deception

Features of Game Theory for Cyber Deception

  • Introduces game theory as a means to conceptualize, analyze, and model cyber deception

  • Develops a thorough game-theoretic taxonomy to identify and investigate emerging problems in cybersecurity

  • Includes a broad range of game-theoretic models, such as large-population games and games of incomplete information

From the Springer website: Book flyer