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Cranford, Edward A, Gonzalez, Cleotilde, Aggarwal, Palvi, Lebiere, Christian.  2019.  Towards Personalized Deceptive Signaling for Cyber Defense Using Cognitive Models.

Recent research in cybersecurity has begun to develop active defense strategies using game-theoretic optimization of the allocation of limited defenses combined with deceptive signaling. While effective, the algorithms are optimized against perfectly rational adversaries. In a laboratory experiment, we pit humans against the defense algorithm in an online game designed to simulate an insider attack scenario. Humans attack far more often than predicted under perfect rationality. Optimizing against human bounded rationality is vitally important. We propose a cognitive model based on instancebased learning theory and built in ACT-R that accurately predicts human performance and biases in the game. We show that the algorithm does not defend well, largely due to its static nature and lack of adaptation to the particular individual’s actions. Thus, we propose an adaptive method of signaling that uses the cognitive model to trace an individual’s experience in real time, in order to optimize defenses. We discuss the results and implications of personalized defense.