sis 21(30): e5

Research Article

A Game Theoretical Model for Anticipating Email Spear-Phishing Strategies

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/eai.26-5-2020.166354,
        author={Franklin Tchakounte and Virgile Sim\^{e} Nyassi and Duplex Elvis Houpa Danga and Kalum Priyanath Udagepola and Marcellin Atemkeng},
        title={A Game Theoretical Model for Anticipating Email Spear-Phishing Strategies},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Scalable Information Systems},
        keywords={Attack, game theory, non-cooperative game, email spear-phishing, QRE},
  • Franklin Tchakounte
    Virgile Simé Nyassi
    Duplex Elvis Houpa Danga
    Kalum Priyanath Udagepola
    Marcellin Atemkeng
    Year: 2020
    A Game Theoretical Model for Anticipating Email Spear-Phishing Strategies
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.26-5-2020.166354
Franklin Tchakounte1,2,*, Virgile Simé Nyassi1, Duplex Elvis Houpa Danga1,2, Kalum Priyanath Udagepola3, Marcellin Atemkeng4
  • 1: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science, University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon
  • 2: Laboratory of Mathematics and Applications (LAMAP), University of Ngaoundéré, Cameroon
  • 3: Research Development Institute of Technology, Australia
  • 4: Department of Mathematics, Rhodes University, 6140 Grahamstown, South Africa
*Contact email:


A solution to help victims against phishing is anticipating and leveraging impacts related to phisher actions.In this regard, this work reshapes game theoretical logic between Intrusion Detection System (IDS) agents andinsiders to email spear-phishing interactions. The email spear-phishing attack is designed as a non-cooperativeand repeated game between opponents. Additionally, this work relies on Quantal Response Equilibrium (QRE)to build a game theoretical approach to predict the phisher’s future intent based on past actions of bothplayers. This approach is coupled with a recommendation strategy of appropriate allocation of resources toinvest to strengthen user protection. Simulations on spear-phishing scenarios demonstrate the ability of thefinal system to intuitively guess the most likely phisher decisions. This work provides intelligence to spear-phishing detectors and humans such that they can anticipate next phisher actions.