Choosing Protection: User Investments in Security Measures for Cyber Risk Management

Yoav Ben Yaakov, Xinrun Wang, Joachim Meyer*, Bo An

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and cyber-insurance are widely used to protect against cyber-attacks and their consequences. The optimal investment in each of these security measures depends on the likelihood of threats and the severity of the damage they cause, on the user’s ability to distinguish between malicious and non-malicious content, and on the properties of the different security measures and their costs. We present a model of the optimal investment in the security measures, given that the effectiveness of each measure depends partly on the performance of the others. We also conducted an online experiment in which participants classified events as malicious or non-malicious, based on the value of an observed variable. They could protect themselves by investing in a firewall, an IDS or insurance. Four experimental conditions differed in the optimal investment in the different measures. Participants tended to invest preferably in the IDS, irrespective of the benefits from this investment. They were able to identify the firewall and insurance conditions in which investments were beneficial, but they did not invest optimally in these measures. The results imply that users’ intuitive decisions to invest resources in risk management measures are likely to be non-optimal. It is important to develop methods to help users in their decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecision and Game Theory for Security - 10th International Conference, GameSec 2019, Proceedings
EditorsTansu Alpcan, Yevgeniy Vorobeychik, John S. Baras, György Dán
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783030324292
StatePublished - 2019
Event10th International Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security, GameSec 2019 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 30 Oct 20191 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11836 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference10th International Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security, GameSec 2019


FundersFunder number
Israel Cyber Authority
Ministry of Education - Singapore
Nanyang Technological University
Tel Aviv UniversityNCR2016NCR-NCR001-0002
Nantong University


    • Cyber insurance
    • Cybersecurity
    • Decision making


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