Belief manipulation and message meaning for protocol analysis
Hunter, Aaron (Aaron Hunter (Aaron_Hunter)) (author)
© 2014 Hunter; licensee Springer. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.
Agents often try to convince others to hold certain beliefs. In fact, many network security attacks can actually be framed in terms of a dishonest that is trying to get an honest agent to believe some particular, untrue claims. While the study of belief change is an established area of research in Artificial Intelligence, there has been comparatively little exploration of the way one agent can explicitly manipulate the beliefs of another. In this paper, we introduce a precise, formal notion of a belief manipulation problem. We also illustrate that the meaning of a message can be parsed into different communicative acts, as defined in discourse analysis theory. Specifically, we suggest that each message can be understood in terms of what it says about the world, what it says about the message history, and what it says about future actions. We demonstrate that this kind of dissection can actually be used to discover the goals of an intruder in a communication session, which is important when determining how an adversary is trying to manipulate the beliefs of an honest agent. This information will then help prevent future attacks. We frame the discussion of belief manipulation primarily in the context of cryptographic protocol analysis.