[Cryptography] Timing of cyberattacks -- is this a joke?

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 18:33:32 EST 2014

On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 7:32 AM, Stephan Neuhaus <
stephan.neuhaus at tik.ee.ethz.ch> wrote:

> This paper http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/01/08/1322638111 has
> been making some waves; I've heard it discussed in several podcasts to
> which I subscribe.
> Mathematically, the paper is not very difficult, and the treatment more
> than superficial (using tables to find the optimum of a smooth function of
> two variables), and some assumptions questionable (constant payoff discount
> rate), but from a practical perspective, it's useless because none of the
> parameters that go into the equations can be estimated robustly. (As far as
> I could see, there's also no discussion of how sensitive the equations are
> to errors in the parameter estimates.)
> So my question is: is this paper just an elaborate hoax or is this to be
> taken seriously? To be honest, it has the feel of the Sokal paper, just
> without the latter's excellent exploitation of jargon. (Or perhaps I'm just
> too blind to see it.)

Since the paper is by Robert Axelrod, yes THAT Axelrod and it is an
application of game theory to timing of uses of attacks I would say it is

I don't see the paper as predicting when the attacks would happen, rather
it is considering what the optimum time to use an attack is for an
attacker. The model is only predictive if it is assumed that the attackers
adopt an optimal strategy.

Website: http://hallambaker.com/
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