A Fake Online Repository Generation Engine for Cyber Deception

Tanmoy Chakraborty, Sushil Jajodia, Jonathan Katz, Antonio Picariello, Giancarlo Sperli, V. S. Subrahmanian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Today, major corporations and government organizations must face the reality that they will be hacked by malicious actors. In this paper, we consider the case of defending enterprises that have been successfully hacked by imposing additional a posteriori costs on the attacker. Our idea is simple: for every real document dd, we develop methods to automatically generate a set Fake(d)Fake(d) of fake documents that are very similar to dd. The attacker who steals documents must wade through a large number of documents in detail in order to separate the real one from the fakes. Our \mathsf {FORGE}FORGE system focuses on technical documents (e.g., engineering/design documents) and involves three major innovations. First, we represent the semantic content of documents via multi-layer graphs (MLGs). Second, we propose a novel concept of 'meta-centrality' for multi-layer graphs. A meta-centrality (MC) measure takes a classical centrality measure (for ordinary graphs, not MLGs) as input, and generalizes it to MLGs. The idea is to generate fake documents by replacing concepts on the basis of meta-centrality with related concepts according to an ontology. Our third innovation is to show that the problem of generating the set Fake(d)Fake(d) of fakes can be viewed as an optimization problem. We prove that this problem is NP-complete and then develop efficient heuristics to solve it in practice. We ran detailed experiments on two datasets: one a panel of 20 human subjects, another with a panel of 10. Our results show that \mathsf {FORGE}FORGE generates highly believable fakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8638562
Pages (from-to)518-533
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Fake documents
  • cyber deception
  • online repository

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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