Countering Denial of Information Attacks

Presented at DEF CON 13 (2005), July 30, 2005, 5 p.m. (50 minutes)

We are besieged with information every day, our inboxes overflow with spam and our search queries return a great deal of irrelevant information. In most cases there is no malicious intent, just simply too much information. However, if we consider active malicious entities, the picture darkens. Denial of information (DoI) attacks assail the human through their computer system and manifest themselves as attacks that target the human's perceptual, cognitive and motor capabilities. By exploiting these capabilities, attackers reduce the ability of humans to acquire and act upon desired information. Even if a traditional denial of service attack against a machine is not possible, the human utilizing the machine may still succumb to a DoI attack. Typically much more subtle (and potentially much more dangerous), DoI attacks can actively alter the decision making of humans, potentially without their knowledge. This talk explores denial of information attacks and countermeasures and uses network visualization scenarios to illustrate the problem.


  • Greg Conti - United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
    Greg Conti is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the United States Military Academy. He holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the United States Military Academy. His areas of expertise include network security, information visualization and information warfare. Greg has worked at a variety of military intelligence assignments specializing in Signals Intelligence. Currently he is on a Department of Defense Fellowship and is working on his PhD in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. His work can be found at and