Adaptive Cyberattack Modeling System

Gonsalves, P. and Dougherty, E.

Proceedings of SPIE Defense & Security, vol. 6201, Orlando, FL (April 2006)

The pervasiveness of software and networked information systems is evident across a broad spectrum of business and government sectors. Such reliance provides an ample opportunity not only for the nefarious exploits of lone wolf computer hackers, but for more systematic software attacks from organized entities. Much effort and focus has been placed on preventing and ameliorating network and OS attacks, a concomitant emphasis is required to address protection of mission critical software. Typical software protection technique and methodology evaluation and verification and validation (V&V) involves the use of a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) to mimic potential attackers or hackers.  This manpower intensive, time-consuming, and potentially cost-prohibitive approach is not amenable to performing the necessary multiple non-subjective analyses required to support quantifying software protection levels. To facilitate the evaluation and V&V of software protection solutions, we have designed and developed a prototype adaptive cyberattack modeling system. Our approach integrates an off-line mechanism for rapid construction of Bayesian belief network (BN) attack models with an on-line model instantiation, adaptation and knowledge acquisition scheme. Off-line model construction is supported via a knowledge elicitation approach for identifying key domain requirements and a process for translating these requirements into a library of BN-based cyberattack models. On-line attack modeling and knowledge acquisition is supported via BN evidence propagation and model parameter learning.

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