Agent-based modeling of spread of computer virus in a college campus.
Odunga, Nelson Ochieng
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Computer and data resources are critical assets to every organization. There is need to provide confidentiality, integrity, authentication and non-repudiation for these resources. Computer virus presents a threat to the provision of these requirements. Due to the increased complexity of computer virus code, there is need to study how viruses propagate in complex networks so that effective countermeasures can be developed. Of particular concern to this study was the impact of user awareness and vigilance on computer virus spread. The study aimed to come up with an agent-based computer simulation model to explain the influence of computer user awareness in controlling computer virus spread and a control framework based on this model. A questionnaire survey done for Strathmore University community revealed that users were ill-aware of computer virus and countermeasures necessary to control their spread. This information was used to calibrate the proposed model and also indicated the importance of explicitly incorporating user awareness as a parameter in any models to explain computer virus spread. The study came up with the conclusion that user awareness and vigilance (defined as the proportion of users that practice safe computing) helps control computer virus spread but only up to about 40%. Beyond that, the additional investment incurred in training users does not pay off. Based on that finding, the proposed control framework suggested training users on computer virus awareness and vigilance and also deliberately protecting network nodes within particular groups within Strathmore University community that are deemed to be important (based on their nodal degree).