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Book Corner: Help in fighting network security threats

The new book, “Network Security: A Decision and Game-Theoretic Approach” (Cambridge University Press/2011), co-written by Tamer Basar, a UI professor of electrical and computer engineering, offers ideas to those fighting network security threats.

The new book, “Network Security: A Decision and Game-Theoretic Approach” (Cambridge University Press/2011), co-written by Tamer Basar, a UI professor of electrical and computer engineering, offers ideas to those fighting network security threats.

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INSIDE ILLINOIS, Feb. 3, 2011 | Tom Moone, Electrical and Computer Engineering

In their new book, “Network Security: A Decision and Game-Theoretic Approach” (Cambridge University Press/2011), Tamer Basar, a UI professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Tansu Alpcan, a professor at the Technical University of Berlin, offer ideas to those fighting network security threats.

The pair started working on the topic more than seven years ago when Alpcan was a graduate student at Illinois. Their goal was to apply “a more systematic way of formulating network intrusion problems and network security problems in general,” Basar said.

Computer networks can never be 100 percent secure, Basar said. “If you want your laptop or your computer to be secure, you can take it off the Internet,” Basar said. “That’s the only way to keep them out of harm’s way.”

Of course, this would also keep people from communicating or sharing information over the Internet. A balance has to be developed that will allow free exchange of information while also providing the best available security, he said.

Alpcan and Basar say their book presents “a theoretical foundation for making resource allocation decisions that balance available capabilities and perceived security risks in a principled manner.” Previously, approaches to network security have focused on just one aspect of security, such as protocols, hardware or cryptography.

“Our approach was one of the first to adopt what’s called the game theoretic approach,” Basar said. Their book combines models they have derived using game theory, decision theory and control theory to create and develop an understanding of the diversity of network security problems. They have developed an approach that takes all approaches to security into account.

The authors expect their approach should have broad appeal. “It is something we think both faculty researchers in academia and graduate students would be very interested in reading, as well as practitioners to see how in a rigorous and comprehensive way such problems can be modeled and how they can be addressed,” Basar said.

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