A Game-Theoretical Model to Improve Process Plant Protection from Terrorist Attacks

Laobing Zhang, Genserik Reniers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The New York City 9/11 terrorist attacks urged people from academia as well as from industry to pay more attention to operational security research. The required focus in this type of research is human intention. Unlike safety-related accidents, security-related accidents have a deliberate nature, and one has to face intelligent adversaries with characteristics that traditional probabilistic risk assessment techniques are not capable of dealing with. In recent years, the mathematical tool of game theory, being capable to handle intelligent players, has been used in a variety of ways in terrorism risk assessment. In this article, we analyze the general intrusion detection system in process plants, and propose a game-theoretical model for security management in such plants. Players in our model are assumed to be rational and they play the game with complete information. Both the pure strategy and the mixed strategy solutions are explored and explained. We illustrate our model by an illustrative case, and find that in our case, no pure strategy but, instead, a mixed strategy Nash equilibrium exists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRisk Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Game theory
  • Process plant security
  • Strategic adversaries
  • Terrorism risk assessment


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