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Attack and Interception in Networks

  • Economics Discussion Papers
  • April 2, 2021
  • Bhaskar Dutta,
  • Francis Bloch, Kalyan Chatterjee, Bhaskar Dutta

This paper studies a game of attack and interception in a network, where a single attacker chooses a target and a path, and each node chooses a level of protection. We show that the Nash equilibrium of the game exists and is unique. It involves a mixed strategy of the attacker except when one target has a very high value relative to others. We characterize equilibrium attack paths and attack distributions as a function of the underlying network and target values. We also show that adding a link or increasing the value of a target may harm the attacker - a comparative statics effect which is reminiscent of Braess's paradox in transportation economics. Finally, we contrast the Nash equilibrium with the equilibria of two variations of the model: one where nodes make sequential protection decisions upon observing the arrival of a suspicious object, and one where all nodes cooperate in defense.

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