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Quantitative Evaluation of Cyber-Attacks on a Hypothetical School Computer Network

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: This paper presents the attack tree modeling technique of quantifying cyber-attacks on a hypothetical school network system. Attack trees are constructed by decomposing the path in the network system where attacks are plausible. Considered for the network system are two possible network attack paths. One network path represents an attack through the Internet, and the other represents an attack through the Wireless Access Points (WAPs) in the school network. The probabilities of success of the events, that is, 1) the attack payoff, and 2) the commitment of the attacker to infiltrate the network are estimated for the leaf nodes. These are used to calculate the Returns on Attacks (ROAs) at the Root Nodes. For Phase I, the “As Is” network, the ROA values for both attack paths, are higher than 7 (8.00 and 9.35 respectively), which are high values and unacceptable operationally. In Phase II, countermeasures are implemented, and the two attack trees reevaluated. The probabilities of success of the events, the attack payoff and the commitment of the attacker are then re-estimated. Also, the Returns on Attacks (ROAs) for the Root Nodes are re-assessed after executing the countermeasures. For one attack tree, the ROA value of the Root Node was reduced to 4.83 from 8.0, while, for the other attack tree, the ROA value of the Root Node changed to 3.30 from 9.35. ROA values of 4.83 and 3.30 are acceptable as they fall within the medium value range. The efficacy of this method whereby, attack trees are deployed to mitigate computer network risks, as well as using it to assess the vulnerability of computer networks is quantitatively substantiated.

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