Network robustness versus multi-strategy sequential attack


We examine the robustness of networks under attack when the attacker sequentially selects from a number of different attack strategies, each of which removes one node from the network. Network robustness refers to the ability of a network to maintain functionality under attack, and the problem-dependent context implies a number of robustness measures exist. Thus, we analyse four measures: (1) entropy, (2) efficiency, (3) size of largest network component, and suggest to also utilize (4) pairwise connectivity. Six network centrality measures form the set of strategies at the disposal of the attacker. Our study examines the utility of greedy strategy selection versus random strategy selection for each attack, whereas previous studies focused on greedy selection but limited to only one attack strategy. Using a set of common complex network benchmarks in addition to real-world networks, we find that randomly selecting an attack strategy often performs well when the attack strategies are of high quality. We also examine defense against the attacks by adding k edges after each node attack and find that the greedy strategy is most useful in this context. We also observed that a betweenness-based attack often outperforms both random and greedy strategy selection.

Journal of Complex Networks
Dionne M. Aleman, PhD, PEng
Dionne M. Aleman, PhD, PEng
Professor of Industrial Engineering