Modeling secrecy and deception in a multiple-period attacker-defender signaling game

Jun Zhuang*, Vicki M. Bier, Oguzhan Alagoz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


In this paper, we apply game theory to model strategies of secrecy and deception in a multiple-period attacker-defender resource-allocation and signaling game with incomplete information. At each period, we allow one of the three possible types of defender signals-truthful disclosure, secrecy, and deception. We also allow two types of information updating-the attacker updates his knowledge about the defender type after observing the defender's signals, and also after observing the result of a contest (if one occurs in any given time period). Our multiple-period model provides insights into the balance between capital and expense for defensive investments (and the effects of defender private information, such as defense effectiveness, target valuations, and costs), and also shows that defenders can achieve more cost-effective security through secrecy and deception (possibly lasting more than one period), in a multiple-period game. This paper helps to fill a significant gap in the literature. In particular, to our knowledge, no past work has studied defender secrecy and deception in a multiple-period game. Moreover, we believe that the solution approach developed and applied in this paper would prove useful in other types of multiple-period games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-418
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamic programming
  • Game theory
  • Multi-period game
  • Secrecy and deception
  • Signaling game
  • Truthful disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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