### Abstract

Original language | English |
---|---|

Place of Publication | Tilburg |

Publisher | Operations research |

Number of pages | 18 |

Volume | 2008-23 |

Publication status | Published - 2008 |

### Publication series

Name | CentER Discussion Paper |
---|---|

Volume | 2008-23 |

### Fingerprint

### Keywords

- covert networks
- terrorist networks
- Nash bargaining
- game theory
- information
- secrecy

### Cite this

*The Influence of Secrecy on the Communication Structure of Covert Networks*. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2008-23). Tilburg: Operations research.

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**The Influence of Secrecy on the Communication Structure of Covert Networks.** / Lindelauf, R.; Borm, P.E.M.; Hamers, H.J.M.

Research output: Working paper › Discussion paper › Other research output

TY - UNPB

T1 - The Influence of Secrecy on the Communication Structure of Covert Networks

AU - Lindelauf, R.

AU - Borm, P.E.M.

AU - Hamers, H.J.M.

N1 - Subsequently published in Social Networks, 2009 Pagination: 18

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - In order to be able to devise successful strategies for destabilizing terrorist organizations it is vital to recognize and understand their structural properties. This paper deals with the opti- mal communication structure of terrorist organizations when considering the tradeoff between secrecy and operational efficiency. We use elements from game theory and graph theory to determine the `optimal' communication structure a covert network should adopt. Every covert organization faces the constant dilemma of staying secret and ensuring the necessary coordina- tion between its members. For several different secrecy and information scenarios this dilemma is modeled as a game theoretic bargaining problem over the set of connected graphs of given order. Assuming uniform exposure probability of individuals in the network we show that the Nash bargaining solution corresponds to either a network with a central individual (the star graph) or an all-to-all network (the complete graph) depending on the link detection probabil- ity, which is the probability that communication between individuals will be detected. If the probability that an individual is exposed as member of the network depends on the information hierarchy determined by the structure of the graph, the Nash bargaining solution corresponds to cellular-like networks.

AB - In order to be able to devise successful strategies for destabilizing terrorist organizations it is vital to recognize and understand their structural properties. This paper deals with the opti- mal communication structure of terrorist organizations when considering the tradeoff between secrecy and operational efficiency. We use elements from game theory and graph theory to determine the `optimal' communication structure a covert network should adopt. Every covert organization faces the constant dilemma of staying secret and ensuring the necessary coordina- tion between its members. For several different secrecy and information scenarios this dilemma is modeled as a game theoretic bargaining problem over the set of connected graphs of given order. Assuming uniform exposure probability of individuals in the network we show that the Nash bargaining solution corresponds to either a network with a central individual (the star graph) or an all-to-all network (the complete graph) depending on the link detection probabil- ity, which is the probability that communication between individuals will be detected. If the probability that an individual is exposed as member of the network depends on the information hierarchy determined by the structure of the graph, the Nash bargaining solution corresponds to cellular-like networks.

KW - covert networks

KW - terrorist networks

KW - Nash bargaining

KW - game theory

KW - information

KW - secrecy

M3 - Discussion paper

VL - 2008-23

T3 - CentER Discussion Paper

BT - The Influence of Secrecy on the Communication Structure of Covert Networks

PB - Operations research

CY - Tilburg

ER -