InterJournal Complex Systems, 547
Status: Submitted
Manuscript Number: [547]
Submission Date: 20508
Co-operating Agents in Network Defence
Author(s): Robert Ghanea-Hercock

Subject(s): CX.14

Category: Brief Article


The question addressed in this paper is how can complex information networks survive hostile attacks and what mechanisms can increase survivability and defence in large-scale computing networks. As recent evidence indicates, firms, governments and other organisations urgently require better defensive strategies in cyberspace, (Anderson et al 1999, and Briney 2000). In particular, the ability of an information network to maintain itself in the face of continuous perturbation also raises more complex issues related to system metabolism, and network topology. A multi-agent simulation model has been developed which demonstrates spontaneous group formation and the self-maintenance of group integrity. These system parameters are proposed as critical aspects in the defence of network systems. Each agent is susceptible to a modelled virus infection, passed between the agents. We then introduced an artificial immune system to each agent, which allows 'antibody' solutions to be exchanged between the agents within a social group. The interest in this behaviour stems from the concept that by linking together the sensory and intelligence capabilities of a large number of agents distributed across a network we can amplify the ability of the network to resist attacks or intrusion. Specifically through social co-operation, agents can benefit from the combined defensive capabilities of their particular group.

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