Role of Signaling in Information Warfare

Thumbnail Image
Nizovtsev, Dmitri
Cremonini, Marco
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Issue Date
November 2007
Alternative Title
This paper examines information warfare between attackers, who try to gain access to information systems, or "targets", and defenders protecting those targets. we develop a game theoretic model in which both defenders and attackers act strategically and their actions are interdependent. our analysis focuses on the role of the information flows and shows that, ceteris paribus, rational attackers spend more effort on less protected targets. as a result, the defenders' security measures are more effective when attackers are informed about the targets' characteristics. Correctly anticipating future attackers' responses, targets with better levels of protection have stronger incentives to signal their security characteristics than poorly protected targets. Overall, defenders' ability to signal their security characteristics improves their welfare. our results have important implications for security practices and policies.