Learning about Cyber Deception through Simulations: Predictions of Human Decision Making with Deceptive Signals in Stackelberg Security Games

AbstractTo improve cyber defense, researchers have developed algorithms to allocate limited defense resources optimally. Through signaling theory, we have learned that it is possible to trick the human mind when using deceptive signals. The present work is an initial step towards developing a psychological theory of cyber deception. We use simulations to investigate how humans might make decisions under various conditions of deceptive signals in cyber-attack scenarios. We created an Instance-Based Learning (IBL) model of the attacker decisions using the ACT-R cognitive architecture. We ran simulations against the optimal deceptive signaling algorithm and against four alternative deceptive signal schemes. Our results show that the optimal deceptive algorithm is more effective at reducing the probability of attack and protecting assets compared to other signaling conditions, but it is not perfect. These results shed some light on the expected effectiveness of deceptive signals for defense. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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