Redefining attack: taking the offensive against networks
Michael, Robert J.
Staples, Zachary H.
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The Information Age empowers individuals, and affords small groups an opportunity to attack states' interests with an increasing variety of tactics and great anonymity. Current strategies to prevail against these emerging threats are inherently defensive, relying on potential adversaries to commit mistakes and engage in detectable behavior. While defensive strategies are a critical component of a complete solution set, they cede initiative to the adversary. Moreover, reactive measures are not suited to quickly suppress adversary networks through force. To address this shortfall in strategic planning, the science of networks is rapidly making clear that natural systems built over time with preferential attachment form scale-free networks. These networks are naturally resilient to failure and random attack, but carry inherent vulnerabilities in their highly connected hubs. Taking the offensive against networks is therefore an exercise in discovering and attacking such hubs. To find these hub vulnerabilities in network adversaries, this thesis proposes a strategy called Stimulus Based Discovery, which leads to rapid network mapping and then systematically improves the accuracy and validity of this map while simultaneously degrading an adversary's network cohesion. Additionally, this thesis provides a model for experimenting with Stimulus Based Discovery in a Multi-Agent System.
This thesis done in cooperation with the MOVES Institute
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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