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Lina Sela Perelman, Waseem Abbas, Xenofon D. Koutsoukos, Saurabh Amin.  2015.  Sensor placement for fault location identification in water networks: A minimum test cover approach. CoRR. abs/1507.07134

This paper focuses on the optimal sensor placement problem for the identification of pipe failure locations in large-scale urban water systems. The problem involves selecting the minimum number of sensors such that every pipe failure can be uniquely localized. This problem can be viewed as a minimum test cover (MTC) problem, which is NP-hard. We consider two approaches to obtain approximate solutions to this problem. In the first approach, we transform the MTC problem to a minimum set cover (MSC) problem and use the greedy algorithm that exploits the submodularity property of the MSC problem to compute the solution to the MTC problem. In the second approach, we develop a new \textit{augmented greedy} algorithm for solving the MTC problem. This approach does not require the transformation of the MTC to MSC. Our augmented greedy algorithm provides in a significant computational improvement while guaranteeing the same approximation ratio as the first approach. We propose several metrics to evaluate the performance of the sensor placement designs. Finally, we present detailed computational experiments for a number of real water distribution networks.

Aron Laszka, Bradley Potteiger, Yevgeniy Vorobeychik, Saurabh Amin, Xenofon Koutsoukos.  2016.  Vulnerability of Transportation Networks to Traffic-Signal Tampering. 7th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS).

Traffic signals were originally standalone hardware devices running on fixed schedules, but by now, they have evolved into complex networked systems. As a consequence, traffic signals have become susceptible to attacks through wireless interfaces or even remote attacks through the Internet. Indeed, recent studies have shown that many traffic lights deployed in practice have easily exploitable vulnerabilities, which allow an attacker to tamper with the configuration of the signal. Due to hardware-based failsafes, these vulnerabilities cannot be used to cause accidents. However, they may be used to cause disastrous traffic congestions. Building on Daganzo's well-known traffic model, we introduce an approach for evaluating vulnerabilities of transportation networks, identifying traffic signals that have the greatest impact on congestion and which, therefore, make natural targets for attacks. While we prove that finding an attack that maximally impacts congestion is NP-hard, we also exhibit a polynomial-time heuristic algorithm for computing approximately optimal attacks. We then use numerical experiments to show that our algorithm is extremely efficient in practice. Finally, we also evaluate our approach using the SUMO traffic simulator with a real-world transportation network, demonstrating vulnerabilities of this network. These simulation results extend the numerical experiments by showing that our algorithm is extremely efficient in a microsimulation model as well.

Brad Miller, Alex Kantchelian, Michael Carl Tschantz, Sadia Afroz, Rekha Bachwani, Riyaz Faizullabhoy, Ling Huang, Vaishaal Shankar, Tony Wu, George Yiu et al..  2015.  Back to the Future: Malware Detection with Temporally Consistent Labels. CoRR. abs/1510.07338

The malware detection arms race involves constant change: malware changes to evade detection and labels change as detection mechanisms react. Recognizing that malware changes over time, prior work has enforced temporally consistent samples by requiring that training binaries predate evaluation binaries. We present temporally consistent labels, requiring that training labels also predate evaluation binaries since training labels collected after evaluation binaries constitute label knowledge from the future. Using a dataset containing 1.1 million binaries from over 2.5 years, we show that enforcing temporal label consistency decreases detection from 91% to 72% at a 0.5% false positive rate compared to temporal samples alone.

The impact of temporal labeling demonstrates the potential of improved labels to increase detection results. Hence, we present a detector capable of selecting binaries for submission to an expert labeler for review. At a 0.5% false positive rate, our detector achieves a 72% true positive rate without an expert, which increases to 77% and 89% with 10 and 80 expert queries daily, respectively. Additionally, we detect 42% of malicious binaries initially undetected by all 32 antivirus vendors from VirusTotal used in our evaluation. For evaluation at scale, we simulate the human expert labeler and show that our approach is robust against expert labeling errors. Our novel contributions include a scalable malware detector integrating manual review with machine learning and the examination of temporal label consistency

Ratliff, Lillian J, Barreto, Carlos, Dong, Roy, Ohlsson, Henrik, Cardenas, Alvaro, Sastry, S Shankar.  2014.  Effects of risk on privacy contracts for demand-side management. arXiv preprint arXiv:1409.7926.

As smart meters continue to be deployed around the world collecting unprecedented levels of fine-grained data about consumers, we need to find mechanisms that are fair to both, (1) the electric utility who needs the data to improve their operations, and (2) the consumer who has a valuation of privacy but at the same time benefits from sharing consumption data. In this paper we address this problem by proposing privacy contracts between electric utilities and consumers with the goal of maximizing the social welfare of both. Our mathematical model designs an optimization problem between a population of users that have different valuations on privacy and the costs of operation by the utility. We then show how contracts can change depending on the probability of a privacy breach. This line of research can help inform not only current but also future smart meter collection practices.

Roy Dong, Walid Krichene, Alexandre M. Bayen, S. Shankar Sastry.  2016.  Differential Privacy of Populations in Routing Games. CoRR. abs/1601.04041

As our ground transportation infrastructure modernizes, the large amount of data being measured, transmitted, and stored motivates an analysis of the privacy aspect of these emerging cyber-physical technologies. In this paper, we consider privacy in the routing game, where the origins and destinations of drivers are considered private. This is motivated by the fact that this spatiotemporal information can easily be used as the basis for inferences for a person's activities. More specifically, we consider the differential privacy of the mapping from the amount of flow for each origin-destination pair to the traffic flow measurements on each link of a traffic network. We use a stochastic online learning framework for the population dynamics, which is known to converge to the Nash equilibrium of the routing game. We analyze the sensitivity of this process and provide theoretical guarantees on the convergence rates as well as differential privacy values for these models. We confirm these with simulations on a small example.

Dahan, Mathieu, Amin, Saurabh.  2015.  Network Flow Routing under Strategic Link Disruptions. arXiv preprint arXiv:1512.09335.

This paper considers a 2-player strategic game for network routing under link disruptions. Player 1 (defender) routes flow through a network to maximize her value of effective flow while facing transportation costs. Player 2 (attacker) simultaneously disrupts one or more links to maximize her value of lost flow but also faces cost of disrupting links. This game is strategically equivalent to a zero-sum game. Linear programming duality and the max-flow min-cut theorem are applied to obtain properties that are satisfied in any mixed Nash equilibrium. In any equilibrium, both players achieve identical payoffs. While the defender's expected transportation cost decreases in attacker's marginal value of lost flow, the attacker's expected cost of attack increases in defender's marginal value of effective flow. Interestingly, the expected amount of effective flow decreases in both these parameters. These results can be viewed as a generalization of the classical max-flow with minimum transportation cost problem to adversarial environments.

Young Hwan Chang, Qie Hu, Claire J. Tomlin.  2015.  Secure Estimation based Kalman Filter for Cyber-Physical Systems against Adversarial Attacks. CoRR. abs/1512.03853

Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) are found in many applications such as power networks, manufacturing processes, and air and ground transportation systems. Maintaining security of these systems under cyber attacks is an important and challenging task, since these attacks can be erratic and thus difficult to model. Secure estimation problems study how to estimate the true system states when measurements are corrupted and/or control inputs are compromised by attackers. The authors in [1] proposed a secure estimation method when the set of attacked nodes (sensors, controllers) is fixed. In this paper, we extend these results to scenarios in which the set of attacked nodes can change over time. We formulate this secure estimation problem into the classical error correction problem [2] and we show that accurate decoding can be guaranteed under a certain condition. Furthermore, we propose a combined secure estimation method with our proposed secure estimator above and the Kalman Filter (KF) for improved practical performance. Finally, we demonstrate the performance of our method through simulations of two scenarios where an unmanned aerial vehicle is under adversarial attack.

Abbas, Waseem, Laszka, Aron, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy, Koutsoukos, Xenofon.  2015.  Scheduling Intrusion Detection Systems in Resource-Bounded Cyber-Physical Systems. Proceedings of the First ACM Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems-Security and/or PrivaCy. :55–66.

In order to be resilient to attacks, a cyber-physical system (CPS) must be able to detect attacks before they can cause significant damage. To achieve this, \emph{intrusion detection systems} (IDS) may be deployed, which can detect attacks and alert human operators, who can then intervene. However, the resource-constrained nature of many CPS poses a challenge, since reliable IDS can be computationally expensive. Consequently, computational nodes may not be able to perform intrusion detection continuously, which means that we have to devise a schedule for performing intrusion detection. While a uniformly random schedule may be optimal in a purely cyber system, an optimal schedule for protecting CPS must also take into account the physical properties of the system, since the set of adversarial actions and their consequences depend on the physical systems. Here, in the context of water distribution networks, we study IDS scheduling problems in two settings and under the constraints on the available battery supplies. In the first problem, the objective is to design, for a given duration of time $T$, scheduling schemes for IDS so that the probability of detecting an attack is maximized within that duration. We propose efficient heuristic algorithms for this general problem and evaluate them on various networks. In the second problem, our objective is to design scheduling schemes for IDS so that the overall lifetime of the network is maximized while ensuring that an intruder attack is always detected. Various strategies to deal with this problem are presented and evaluated for various networks.

Mathieu Dahan, Saurabh Amin.  2015.  Security Games in Network Flow Problems. CoRR. abs/1512.09335

This paper considers a 2-player strategic game for network routing under link disruptions. Player 1 (defender) routes flow through a network to maximize her value of effective flow while facing transportation costs. Player 2 (attacker) simultaneously disrupts one or more links to maximize her value of lost flow but also faces cost of disrupting links. This game is strategically equivalent to a zero-sum game. Linear programming duality and the max-flow min-cut theorem are applied to obtain properties that are satisfied in any mixed Nash equilibrium. In any equilibrium, both players achieve identical payoffs. While the defender's expected transportation cost decreases in attacker's marginal value of lost flow, the attacker's expected cost of attack increases in defender's marginal value of effective flow. Interestingly, the expected amount of effective flow decreases in both these parameters. These results can be viewed as a generalization of the classical max-flow with minimum transportation cost problem to adversarial environments.

Abbas, Waseem, Perelman, Lina Sela, Amin, Saurabh, Koutsoukos, Xenofon.  2015.  An Efficient Approach to Fault Identification in Urban Water Networks Using Multi-Level Sensing. Proceedings of the 2Nd ACM International Conference on Embedded Systems for Energy-Efficient Built Environments. :147–156.

The objective of this work is to develop an efficient and practical sensor placement method for the failure detection and localization in water networks. We formulate the problem as the minimum test cover problem (MTC) with the objective of selecting the minimum number of sensors required to uniquely identify and localize pipe failure events. First, we summarize a single-level sensing model and discuss an efficient fast greedy approach for solving the MTC problem. Simulation results on benchmark test networks demonstrate the efficacy of the fast greedy algorithm. Second, we develop a multi-level sensing model that captures additional physical features of the disturbance event, such as the time lapsed between the occurrence of disturbance and its detection by the sensor. Our sensor placement approach using MTC extends to the multi-level sensing model and an improved identification performance is obtained via reduced number of sensors (in comparison to single-level sensing model). In particular, we investigate the bi-level sensing model to illustrate the efficacy of employing multi-level sensors for the identification of failure events. Finally, we suggest extensions of our approach for the deployment of heterogeneous sensors in water networks by exploring the trade-off between cost and performance (measured in terms of the identification score of pipe/link failures).

Ke, Liyiming, Li, Bo, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy.  2016.  Behavioral Experiments in Email Filter Evasion.

Despite decades of effort to combat spam, unwanted and even malicious emails, such as phish which aim to deceive recipients into disclosing sensitive information, still routinely find their way into one’s mailbox. To be sure, email filters manage to stop a large fraction of spam emails from ever reaching users, but spammers and phishers have mastered the art of filter evasion, or manipulating the content of email messages to avoid being filtered. We present a unique behavioral experiment designed to study email filter evasion. Our experiment is framed in somewhat broader terms: given the widespread use of machine learning methods for distinguishing spam and non-spam, we investigate how human subjects manipulate a spam template to evade a classification-based filter. We find that adding a small amount of noise to a filter significantly reduces the ability of subjects to evade it, observing that noise does not merely have a short-term impact, but also degrades evasion performance in the longer term. Moreover, we find that greater coverage of an email template by the classifier (filter) features significantly increases the difficulty of evading it. This observation suggests that aggressive feature reduction—a common practice in applied machine learning—can actually facilitate evasion. In addition to the descriptive analysis of behavior, we develop a synthetic model of human evasion behavior which closely matches observed behavior and effectively replicates experimental findings in simulation.

Aron Laszka, Yevgeniy Vorobeychik, Xenofon Koutsoukos.  2015.  Resilient Observation Selection in Adversarial Settings. 54th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC).

Monitoring large areas using sensors is fundamental in a number of applications, including electric power grid, traffic networks, and sensor-based pollution control systems. However, the number of sensors that can be deployed is often limited by financial or technological constraints. This problem is further complicated by the presence of strategic adversaries, who may disable some of the deployed sensors in order to impair the operator's ability to make predictions. Assuming that the operator employs a Gaussian-process-based regression model, we formulate the problem of attack-resilient sensor placement as the problem of selecting a subset from a set of possible observations, with the goal of minimizing the uncertainty of predictions. We show that both finding an optimal resilient subset and finding an optimal attack against a given subset are NP-hard problems. Since both the design and the attack problems are computationally complex, we propose efficient heuristic algorithms for solving them and present theoretical approximability results. Finally, we show that the proposed algorithms perform exceptionally well in practice using numerical results based on real-world datasets.

Aron Laszka, Jian Lou, Yevgeniy Vorobeychik.  2016.  Multi-Defender Strategic Filtering Against Spear-Phishing Attacks. 30th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

Spear-phishing attacks pose a serious threat to sensitive computer systems, since they sidestep technical security mechanisms by exploiting the carelessness of authorized users. A common way to mitigate such attacks is to use e-mail filters which block e-mails with a maliciousness score above a chosen threshold. Optimal choice of such a threshold involves a tradeoff between the risk from delivered malicious emails and the cost of blocking benign traffic. A further complicating factor is the strategic nature of an attacker, who may selectively target users offering the best value in terms of likelihood of success and resulting access privileges. Previous work on strategic threshold-selection considered a single organization choosing thresholds for all users. In reality, many organizations are potential targets of such attacks, and their incentives need not be well aligned. We therefore consider the problem of strategic threshold-selection by a collection of independent self-interested users. We characterize both Stackelberg multi-defender equilibria, corresponding to short-term strategic dynamics, as well as Nash equilibria of the simultaneous game between all users and the attacker, modeling long-term dynamics, and exhibit a polynomial-time algorithm for computing short-term (Stackelberg) equilibria. We find that while Stackelberg multi-defender equilibrium need not exist, Nash equilibrium always exists, and remarkably, both equilibria are unique and socially optimal.

Waseem Abbas, Aron Laszka, Koutsoukos, Xenofon.  2015.  Resilient Wireless Sensor Networks for Cyber-Physical Systems. Cyber-Physical System Design with Sensor Networking Technologies.

Due to their low deployment costs, wireless sensor networks (WSN) may act as a key enabling technology for a variety of spatially-distributed cyber-physical system (CPS) applications, ranging from intelligent traffic control to smart grids. However, besides providing tremendous benefits in terms of deployment costs, they also open up new possibilities for malicious attackers, who aim to cause financial losses or physical damage. Since perfectly securing these spatially-distributed systems is either impossible or financially unattainable, we need to design them to be resilient to attacks: even if some parts of the system are compromised or unavailable due to the actions of an attacker, the system as a whole must continue to operate with minimal losses. In a CPS, control decisions affecting the physical process depend on the observed data from the sensor network. Any malicious activity in the sensor network can therefore severely impact the physical process, and consequently the overall CPS operations. These factors necessitate a deeper probe into the domain of resilient WSN for CPS. In this chapter, we provide an overview of various dimensions in this field, including objectives of WSN in CPS, attack scenarios and vulnerabilities, notion of attack-resilience in WSN for CPS, and solution approaches towards attaining resilience. We also highlight major challenges, recent developments, and future directions in this area.

Goncalo Martins, Sajal Bhatia, Xenofon Kousoukos, Keith Stouffer, CheeYee Tang, Richard Candell.  2015.  Towards a Systematic Threat Modeling Approach for Cyber-physical Systems. 2nd National Symposium on Resilient Critical Infrastructure (ISRCS 2015).

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are systems with seamless integration of physical, computational and networking components. These systems can potentially have an impact on the physical components, hence it is critical to safeguard them against a wide range of attacks. In this paper, it is argued that an effective approach to achieve this goal is to systematically identify the potential threats at the design phase of building such systems, commonly achieved via threat modeling. In this context, a tool to perform systematic analysis of threat modeling for CPS is proposed. A real-world wireless railway temperature monitoring system is used as a case study to validate the proposed approach. The threats identified in the system are subsequently mitigated using National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards.

Laszka, Aron, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy, Koutsoukos, Xenofon.  2015.  Optimal Personalized Filtering Against Spear-phishing Attacks. Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence. :958–964.

To penetrate sensitive computer networks, attackers can use spear phishing to sidestep technical security mechanisms by exploiting the privileges of careless users. In order to maximize their success probability, attackers have to target the users that constitute the weakest links of the system. The optimal selection of these target users takes into account both the damage that can be caused by a user and the probability of a malicious e-mail being delivered to and opened by a user. Since attackers select their targets in a strategic way, the optimal mitigation of these attacks requires the defender to also personalize the e-mail filters by taking into account the users' properties.

In this paper, we assume that a learned classifier is given and propose strategic per-user filtering thresholds for mitigating spear-phishing attacks. We formulate the problem of filtering targeted and non-targeted malicious e-mails as a Stackelberg security game. We characterize the optimal filtering strategies and show how to compute them in practice. Finally, we evaluate our results using two real-world datasets and demonstrate that the proposed thresholds lead to lower losses than nonstrategic thresholds.

Gan, Jiarui, An, Bo, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy.  2015.  Security Games with Protection Externalities. Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence. :914–920.

Stackelberg security games have been widely deployed in recent years to schedule security resources. An assumption in most existing security game models is that one security resource assigned to a target only protects that target. However, in many important real-world security scenarios, when a resource is assigned to a target, it exhibits protection externalities: that is, it also protects other "neighbouring" targets. We investigate such Security Games with Protection Externalities (SPEs). First, we demonstrate that computing a strong Stackelberg equilibrium for an SPE is NP-hard, in contrast with traditional Stackelberg security games which can be solved in polynomial time. On the positive side, we propose a novel column generation based approach—CLASPE—to solve SPEs. CLASPE features the following novelties: 1) a novel mixed-integer linear programming formulation for the slave problem; 2) an extended greedy approach with a constant-factor approximation ratio to speed up the slave problem; and 3) a linear-scale linear programming that efficiently calculates the upper bounds of target-defined subproblems for pruning. Our experimental evaluation demonstrates that CLASPE enable us to scale to realistic-sized SPE problem instances.

Pavlovic, Dusko.  2015.  Towards a Science of Trust. Proceedings of the 2015 Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security. :3:1–3:9.

The diverse views of science of security have opened up several alleys towards applying the methods of science to security. We pursue a different kind of connection between science and security. This paper explores the idea that security is not just a suitable subject for science,. but that the process of security is also similar to the process of science. This similarity arises from the fact that both science and security depend on the methods of inductive inference. Because of this dependency, a scientific theory can never be definitely proved, but can only be disproved by new evidence, and improved into a better theory. Because of the same dependency, every security claim and method has a lifetime, and always eventually needs to be improved.

In this general framework of security-as-science, we explore the ways to apply the methods of scientific induction in the process of trust. The process of trust building and updating is viewed as hypothesis testing. We propose to formulate the trust hypotheses by the methods of algorithmic learning, and to build more robust trust testing and vetting methodologies on the solid foundations of statistical inference.

Emfinger, W., Karsai, G..  2015.  Modeling Network Medium Access Protocols for Network Quality of Service Analysis. Real-Time Distributed Computing (ISORC), 2015 IEEE 18th International Symposium on. :292-295.

Design-time analysis and verification of distributed real-time embedded systems necessitates the modeling of the time-varying performance of the network and comparing that to application requirements. Earlier work has shown how to build a system network model that abstracted away the network's physical medium and protocols which govern its access and multiplexing. In this work we show how to apply a network medium channel access protocol, such as Time-Division Multiple Access (TDMA), to our network analysis methods and use the results to show that the abstracted model without the explicit model of the protocol is valid.

Laszka, Aron, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy, Koutsoukos, Xenofon.  2015.  Integrity Assurance in Resource-bounded Systems Through Stochastic Message Authentication. Proceedings of the 2015 Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security. :1:1–1:12.

Assuring communication integrity is a central problem in security. However, overhead costs associated with cryptographic primitives used towards this end introduce significant practical implementation challenges for resource-bounded systems, such as cyber-physical systems. For example, many control systems are built on legacy components which are computationally limited but have strict timing constraints. If integrity protection is a binary decision, it may simply be infeasible to introduce into such systems; without it, however, an adversary can forge malicious messages, which can cause signi cant physical or financial harm. We propose a formal game-theoretic framework for optimal stochastic message authentication, providing provable integrity guarantees for resource-bounded systems based on an existing MAC scheme. We use our framework to investigate attacker deterrence, as well as optimal design of stochastic message authentication schemes when deterrence is impossible. Finally, we provide experimental results on the computational performance of our framework in practice.

Li, Bo, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy, Li, Muqun, Malin, Bradley.  2015.  Iterative Classification for Sanitizing Large-Scale Datasets. SIAM International Conference on Data Mining.

Cheap ubiquitous computing enables the collectionof massive amounts of personal data in a wide variety of domains.Many organizations aim to share such data while obscuring fea-tures that could disclose identities or other sensitive information.Much of the data now collected exhibits weak structure (e.g.,natural language text) and machine learning approaches havebeen developed to identify and remove sensitive entities in suchdata. Learning-based approaches are never perfect and relyingupon them to sanitize data can leak sensitive information as aconsequence. However, a small amount of risk is permissiblein practice, and, thus, our goal is to balance the value ofdata published and the risk of an adversary discovering leakedsensitive information. We model data sanitization as a gamebetween 1) a publisher who chooses a set of classifiers to applyto data and publishes only instances predicted to be non-sensitiveand 2) an attacker who combines machine learning and manualinspection to uncover leaked sensitive entities (e.g., personal names). We introduce an iterative greedy algorithm for thepublisher that provably executes no more than a linear numberof iterations, and ensures a low utility for a resource-limitedadversary. Moreover, using several real world natural languagecorpora, we illustrate that our greedy algorithm leaves virtuallyno automatically identifiable sensitive instances for a state-of-the-art learning algorithm, while sharing over 93% of the original data, and completes after at most 5 iterations.

Nika Haghtalab, Aron Laszka, Ariel D. Procaccia, Yevgeniy Vorobeychik, Xenofon D. Koutsoukos.  2015.  Monitoring Stealthy Diffusion. SIAM International Conference on Data Mining.

Starting with the seminal work by Kempe et al., a broad variety of problems, such as targeted marketing and the spread of viruses and malware, have been modeled as selecting
a subset of nodes to maximize diffusion through a network. In
cyber-security applications, however, a key consideration largely ignored in this literature is stealth. In particular, an attacker often has a specific target in mind, but succeeds only if the target is reached (e.g., by malware) before the malicious payload is detected and corresponding countermeasures deployed. The dual side of this problem is deployment of a limited number of monitoring units, such as cyber-forensics specialists, so as to limit the likelihood of such targeted and stealthy diffusion processes reaching their intended targets. We investigate the problem of optimal monitoring of targeted stealthy diffusion processes, and show that a number of natural variants of this problem are NP-hard to approximate. On the positive side, we show that if stealthy diffusion starts from randomly selected nodes, the defender’s objective is submodular, and a fast greedy algorithm has provable approximation guarantees. In addition, we present approximation algorithms for the setting in which an attacker optimally responds to the placement of monitoring nodes by adaptively selecting the starting nodes for the diffusion process. Our experimental results show that the proposed algorithms are highly effective and scalable.

Xia, Weiyi, Kantarcioglu, Murat, Wan, Zhiyu, Heatherly, Raymond, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy, Malin, Bradley.  2015.  Process-Driven Data Privacy. Proceedings of the 24th ACM International on Conference on Information and Knowledge Management. :1021–1030.

The quantity of personal data gathered by service providers via our daily activities continues to grow at a rapid pace. The sharing, and the subsequent analysis of, such data can support a wide range of activities, but concerns around privacy often prompt an organization to transform the data to meet certain protection models (e.g., k-anonymity or E-differential privacy). These models, however, are based on simplistic adversarial frameworks, which can lead to both under- and over-protection. For instance, such models often assume that an adversary attacks a protected record exactly once. We introduce a principled approach to explicitly model the attack process as a series of steps. Specically, we engineer a factored Markov decision process (FMDP) to optimally plan an attack from the adversary's perspective and assess the privacy risk accordingly. The FMDP captures the uncertainty in the adversary's belief (e.g., the number of identied individuals that match the de-identified data) and enables the analysis of various real world deterrence mechanisms beyond a traditional protection model, such as a penalty for committing an attack. We present an algorithm to solve the FMDP and illustrate its efficiency by simulating an attack on publicly accessible U.S. census records against a real identied resource of over 500,000 individuals in a voter registry. Our results demonstrate that while traditional privacy models commonly expect an adversary to attack exactly once per record, an optimal attack in our model may involve exploiting none, one, or more indiviuals in the pool of candidates, depending on context.

Lou, Jian, Vorobeychik, Yevgeniy.  2015.  Equilibrium analysis of multi-defender security games. Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence. :596–602.

Stackelberg game models of security have received much attention, with a number of approaches for
computing Stackelberg equilibria in games with a single defender protecting a collection of targets. In contrast, multi-defender security games have received significantly less attention, particularly when each defender protects more than a single target. We fill this gap by considering a multi-defender security game, with a focus on theoretical characterizations of equilibria and the price of anarchy. We present the analysis of three models of increasing generality, two in which each defender protects multiple targets. In all models, we find that the defenders often have the incentive to over protect the targets, at times significantly. Additionally, in the simpler models, we find that the price of anarchy is unbounded, linearly increasing both in the number of defenders and the number of targets per defender. Surprisingly, when we consider a more general model, this results obtains only in a “corner” case in the space of parameters; in most cases, however, the price of anarchy converges to a constant when the number of defenders increases.

Krichene, Walid, Balandat, Maximilian, Tomlin, Claire, Bayen, Alexandre.  2015.  The Hedge Algorithm on a Continuum. Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML-15). :824-832.

ABSTRACT: We consider an onlinse optimization problem on a compact subset S ⊂ Rn (not necessarily convex), in which a decision maker chooses, at each iteration t, a probability distribution xover S, and seeks to minimize a cumulative expected loss, , where ℓ(t) is a Lipschitz loss function revealed at the end of iteration t. Building on previous work, we propose a generalized Hedge algorithm and show a  bound on the regret when the losses are uniformly Lipschitz and S is uniformly fat (a weaker condition than convexity). Finally, we propose a generalization to the dual averaging method on the set of Lebesgue-continuous distributions over S.