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Contagion in cybersecurity attacks

Baldwin, A; Gheyas, I; Ioannidis, C; Pym, D; Williams, J; (2017) Contagion in cybersecurity attacks. Journal of the Operational Research Society , 68 (7) pp. 780-791. 10.1057/jors.2016.37. Green open access

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Abstract

Systems security is essential for the efficient operation of all organizations. Indeed, most large firms employ a designated 'Chief Information Security Officer' to coordinate the operational aspects of the organization’s information security. Part of this role is in planning investment responses to information security threats against the firm's corporate network infrastructure. To this end, we develop and estimate a vector equation system of threats to 10 important IP services, using industry standard SANS data on threats to various components of a firm's information system over the period January 2003 – February 2011. Our results reveal strong evidence of contagion between such attacks, with attacks on ssh and Secure Web Server indicating increased attack activity on other ports. Security managers who ignore such contagious inter-relationships may underestimate the underlying risk to their systems' defence of security attributes, such as sensitivity and criticality, and thus delay appropriate information security investments.

Type: Article
Title: Contagion in cybersecurity attacks
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1057/jors.2016.37
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jors.2016.37
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Operational Research Society Ltd. All rights reserved. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [insert complete citation information here, including DOI] is available online at: [insert URL here]
Keywords: Jumps; contagion; Hawkes process; Self- and mutually exciting processes
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1501146
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