Omic, J., A. Orda and P. Van Mieghem, 2009: Protecting against network infections: A game theoretic perspective, IEEE INFOCOM 2009, April 19-25, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
Security breaches and attacks are critical problems in today’s networking. A key-point is that the security of each host depends not only on the protection strategies it chooses to adopt but also on those chosen by other hosts in the network. The spread of Internet worms and viruses is only one example. This class of problems has two aspects. First, it deals with epidemic processes, and as such calls for the employment of epidemic theory. Second, the distributed and autonomous nature of decision-making in major classes of networks (e.g., P2P, adhoc, and most notably the Internet) call for the employment of game theoretical approaches. Accordingly, we propose a unified framework that combines the N-intertwined, SIS epidemic model with a noncooperative game model. We determine the existence of a Nash equilibrium of the respective game and characterize its properties. We show that its quality, in terms of overall network security, largely depends on the underlying topology. We then provide a bound on the level of system inefficiency due to the noncooperative behavior, namely, the “price of anarchy” of the game. We observe that the price of anarchy may be prohibitively high, hence we propose a scheme for steering users towards socially efficient behavior.