Wuhan University Journal of Natural Sciences

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 171–177 | Cite as

Exploring Attack Graphs for Security Risk Assessment: A Probabilistic Approach

  • Ni Gao
  • Yiyue HeEmail author
  • Beilei Ling
Computer Science


The attack graph methodology can be used to identify the potential attack paths that an attack can propagate. A risk assessment model based on Bayesian attack graph is presented in this paper. Firstly, attack graphs are generated by the MULVAL (Multi-host, Multistage Vulnerability Analysis) tool according to sufficient information of vulnerabilities, network configurations and host connectivity on networks. Secondly, the probabilistic attack graph is established according to the causal relationships among sophisticated multi-stage attacks by using Bayesian Networks. The probability of successful exploits is calculated by combining index of the Common Vulnerability Scoring System, and the static security risk is assessed by applying local conditional probability distribution tables of the attribute nodes. Finally, the overall security risk in a small network scenario is assessed. Experimental results demonstrate our work can deduce attack intention and potential attack paths effectively, and provide effective guidance on how to choose the optimal security hardening strategy.

Key words

risk assessment attack graph Bayesian networks prior probability 

CLC number

TP 393 


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Copyright information

© Wuhan University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of InformationXi’an University of Finance and EconomicsXi’anChina
  2. 2.School of Economics and ManagementNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina

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