Sequential Attacker–Defender Game on Complex Networks Considering the Cascading Failure Process

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-529
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems
Issue number2
Online published10 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


Cascading failure is a ubiquitous phenomenon that can paralyze networked systems in a short time. Many traditional studies of cascading failures have been conducted from the perspective of either an attacker or a defender. In reality, however, malicious attacks on networks are rarely a one-sided process. Instead, both the attacker and defender are actively involved. We use game theory to study the strategies of both sides in terms of an attacker-defender game on complex networks. Based on the concept of the Stackelberg competition, we propose a multi-round attacker-defender game model on complex networks, allowing high flexibility in the available actions for both sides in the game. The model we propose allows the two sides to specify certain parameters of the network to attack/defend and further allocate a certain amount of resources for the attack/defense. Such flexibility allows the model to capture the actions of the attackers and defenders more precisely and simulate the attack process in a more realistic manner. We propose an iterative search algorithm to search for desirable strategies with systematic experiments on various types of networks and associated parameters and in terms of different relative resource owned by the attacker and defender.

Research Area(s)

  • Cascading failure, complex networks, game theory, Stackelberg competition, STOCHASTIC-MODEL, POWER GRIDS, DYNAMICS, VULNERABILITY, ROBUSTNESS, STRATEGIES, RESILIENCE