Controller–jammer game models of Denial of Service in control systems operating over packet-dropping links

Valery Ugrinovskii, Cedric Langbort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper introduces a class of zero-sum games between the adversary and controller as a scenario for a ‘denial of service’ in a networked control system. The communication link is modelled as a set of transmission regimes controlled by a strategic jammer whose intention is to wage an attack on the plant by choosing a most damaging regime-switching strategy. We demonstrate that even in the one-step case, the introduced games admit a saddle-point equilibrium, at which the jammer's optimal policy is to randomize in a region of the plant's state space, thus requiring the controller to undertake a nontrivial response which is different from what one would expect in a standard stochastic control problem over a packet dropping link. The paper derives conditions for the introduced games to have such a saddle-point equilibrium. Furthermore, we show that in more general multi-stage games, these conditions provide ‘greedy’ jamming strategies for the adversary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-141
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Adversarial zero-sum games
  • Control over adversarial channels
  • Control over packet-dropping links
  • Security of control systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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