Another view of the Internet's fragility

Oct 04, 2005

The Internet may not be as vulnerable to centralized attacks as previously suggested, researchers in California reported Monday.

Researchers have built mathematical models of the Internet and used them to study the robustness of the system. One type of model, called a "scale-free" network, portrays the Internet as being unaffected by random component failures, but vulnerable to targeted attacks on highly connected hubs.

John Doyle and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology examined the abstract models and compared them with the organizing principles behind the Internet. They found that at the router level, the current Internet does not have most characteristics predicted by the scale-free models.

The authors also found technological, economic and mathematical reasons explaining why a functioning Internet could not be dominated by high-traffic hubs that render the entire network vulnerable to attacks.

The scientists propose a model involving optimization of tradeoffs under constraints.

"Understanding complex networks in technology and biology is increasingly important, since seemingly arcane aspects of their robustness and fragility are having greater impacts on everyone's lives," Doyle says.

The study appears in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Shedding light on solar power

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Shedding light on solar power

1 hour ago

Everyone wants to save energy, but not everyone knows where to start. Grid Resources, a startup based out of the Centre for Urban Energy's iCUE incubator, is developing a new website that seeks to help homeowners ...

Energy transition project moves into its second phase

1 hour ago

Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production. The associated IRENE research project ...

EU Parliament votes to break up Google

2 hours ago

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the break-up of Google Thursday in a largely symbolic vote that nevertheless cast another blow in the four-year standoff between Brussels and the US Internet ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.