Cost-effective migration-based dynamic platform defense technique: a CTMDP approach


The fantastic growth in cybersecurity attack frequency and sophistication over the years advances the development of Moving Target Defense (MTD) technology. Migration-based dynamic platform technique (DPT), one of MTD techniques, is expected to significantly improve cyberspace security by migrating service across multiple platforms according to the predefined policy. However, the existing random migration policies cause unnecessary cost when the service platform is not under attack, which indicates the necessity of combining DPT with traditional detection-based defense mechanism to make migration decision. In this paper, we propose a Continuous-Time Markov Decision Process (CTMDP)-based dynamic platform defense model against multi-stage attacks, which can determine the optimal service migration timing based on the system reward. To maximize the expected total discounted reward of the system, we utilize the value iteration algorithm to determine the optimal policy which defines what action to be taken in a specific state. Experiments are carried out to demonstrate that our CTMDP-based dynamic platform defense model obtains higher expected total discounted reward than using random migration policies. We also investigate the effects of platform numbers and discount factors on the system reward.

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This research of the first two authors was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China under Grants 2020YJS045 and the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No.U1836105. The work of J. Mišić and V. B. Mišić was supported by their respective NSERC Discovery Grants.

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Correspondence to Xiaolin Chang.

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Zhang, Y., Chang, X., Mišić, J. et al. Cost-effective migration-based dynamic platform defense technique: a CTMDP approach. Peer-to-Peer Netw. Appl. (2021).

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  • Continuous-time Markov decision process
  • Migration-based dynamic platform technique
  • Moving target defense
  • Multi-stage attacks