Differential Security Game in Heterogeneous Device-to-Device Offloading Network under Epidemic Risks

Letian Zhang, Jie Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cooperative computation among peer mobile devices via device-to-device (D2D) links, a.k.a. D2D offloading, is a promising technology to enhance mobile computing performance and reduce core wireless network traffic. However, D2D offloading also creates new security risks as malware can relatively easily compromise mobile devices participating in D2D offloading and propagate across the entire network. In this article, we build an epidemic model to understand the malware propagation process in the D2D offloading-enabled mobile network where devices have heterogeneous computation demand and new devices can enter the system over time. This model also allows mobile devices to intentionally enter a 'non-cooperative' state as a preventive defense strategy to thwart malware propagation. We prove a thresholding result of the malware propagation similar to that in classic epidemic models under given static defender (i.e. the network operator) and attacker strategies. We further model the strategic interaction between the defender and the attacker as a zero-sum differential game. The existence of a saddle-point equilibrium is proved, and the optimal dynamic defense and attack strategies are derived based on the Pontryagin's maximum principle, which are proven to be a bang-bang control strategy. Simulation results validate the proposed model and show that the dynamic optimal strategies significantly improve the system utility compared with baseline strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8910355
Pages (from-to)1852-1861
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • D2D offloading
  • differential game
  • heterogeneous network
  • malware propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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