Targeted attacks on interdependent networks

Dr. Amir Bashan

Many real-world complex systems such as critical infrastructure networks are embedded in space and their components may depend on one another to function. Such dependencies may become a major risk since they can cause small scale failures to propagate throughout the system. Thus, the dependent nodes could be a natural target for malicious attacks that aim to exploit these vulnerabilities. In addition, spatially embedded systems are susceptible to geographically localized damage caused by malicious attacks or natural disasters. In this lecture, we will review theoretical and numerical approaches to describe and predict the effects of i) ‘dependency-based’ attacks on random networks and ii) localized attacks on spatially embedded systems with dependencies. Due to the spacial dynamics of cascading failures, both attack types can leas to unexpected results. Surprisingly, ’dependency-based’ attack strategy may actually become less effective compared with random attacks of the same size, and a localized attack can cause substantially more damage than an equivalent random attack.


The extreme vulnerability of interdependent spatially embedded networks
A Bashan, Y Berezin, SV Buldyrev, S Havlin – Nature Physics, 2013

Localized attacks on spatially embedded networks with dependencies
Y Berezin, A Bashan, MM Danziger, D Li, S Havlin – Scientific reports, 2015

Dependency-based targeted attacks in interdependent networks

D Zhou and A Bashan, arXiv:1912.11998