Başar writes the book on network security
With Wikileaks obtaining classified documents and many businesses reporting security breaches and stolen information, network security has been a regularly featured topic in the media recently. The news underscores the great need for strong approaches to security for networks.
ECE Professor Tamer Başar, a researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, and his co-author Tansu Alpcan (MSEE ’01, PhD ’06) are providing assistance to those who are fighting security threats with their new publication, "Network Security," which has just been published by Cambridge University Press.
Başar and Alpcan 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,” said Başar.
The difficulty with computer networks is that there can never be 100 percent security. “If you want your laptop or your computer to be secure, you can take it off the Internet,” said Başar. “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. The goal is to develop a balance that allows free exchange of information while also providing as much security as possible.
In their preface, Alpcan and Başar state that their book will “present 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,” said Başar. 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. The new model takes all approaches to security into account.
“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,” said Başar.
Concurrent with this book, a new conference series was launched: The Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security, or GameSec. The inaugural conference was held in November 2010 in Berlin. This year, the second one in this new series will be held in Maryland, again in November. “Even though it was the first such meeting, the attendance was very good in Berlin, with both academia and industry represented well. There were even participants from government agencies, such as the London office of the American Office of Naval Research,” said Başar. “It is a timely, hot topic.”