Cascade-based attacks on complex networks

Adilson E Motter, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1177 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We live in a modern world supported by large, complex networks. Examples range from financial markets to communication and transportation systems. In many realistic situations the flow of physical quantities in the network, as characterized by the loads on nodes, is important. We show that for such networks where loads can redistribute among the nodes, intentional attacks can lead to a cascade of overload failures, which can in turn cause the entire or a substantial part of the network to collapse. This is relevant for real-world networks that possess a highly heterogeneous distribution of loads, such as the Internet and power grids. We demonstrate that the heterogeneity of these networks makes them particularly vulnerable to attacks in that a large-scale cascade may be triggered by disabling a single key node. This brings obvious concerns on the security of such systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065102
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Volume66
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002

Keywords

  • small-world networks
  • random graphs
  • internet
  • centrality
  • fragility

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