AAAI Publications, Twenty-Third IAAI Conference

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Testing Cyber Security with Simulated Humans
Jim Blythe, Aaron Botello, Joseph Sutton, David Mazzocco, Jerry Lin, Marc Spraragen, Michael Zyda

Last modified: 2011-08-04


Human error is one of the most common causes of vulnerability in asecure system. However it is often overlooked when these systems aretested, partly because human tests are costly and very hard torepeat. We have developed a community of agents that test securesystems by running standard windows software while performingcollaborative group tasks, mimicking more realistic patterns ofcommunication and traffic, as well as human fatigue and errors. Thissystem is being deployed on a large cyber testing range. One keyattribute of humans is flexibility of response in order to achievetheir goals when unexpected events occur. Our agents use reactiveplanning within a BDI architecture to flexibly re-plan if needed.Since the agents are goal-oriented, we are able to measure the impactof cyber attacks on mission accomplishment, a more salient measure ofprotection than raw penetration. We show experimentally how the agentteams can be resilient under attacks that are partly successful, andalso how an organizational structure can lead to emergent propertiesof the traffic in the network.

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