Breakdown of the Internet under Intentional Attack

Reuven Cohen, Keren Erez, Daniel ben-Avraham, and Shlomo Havlin
Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 3682 – Published 16 April 2001
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We study the tolerance of random networks to intentional attack, whereby a fraction p of the most connected sites is removed. We focus on scale-free networks, having connectivity distribution P(k)kα, and use percolation theory to study analytically and numerically the critical fraction pc needed for the disintegration of the network, as well as the size of the largest connected cluster. We find that even networks with α3, known to be resilient to random removal of sites, are sensitive to intentional attack. We also argue that, near criticality, the average distance between sites in the spanning (largest) cluster scales with its mass, M, as M, rather than as logkM, as expected for random networks away from criticality.

  • Received 17 October 2000


©2001 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Reuven Cohen1,*, Keren Erez1, Daniel ben-Avraham2, and Shlomo Havlin1

  • 1Minerva Center and Department of Physics, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
  • 2Department of Physics, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York 13699-5820

  • *Email address:

Comments & Replies

Cohen, Erez, ben-Avraham, and Havlin Reply:

Reuven Cohen, Keren Erez, Daniel ben-Avraham, and Shlomo Havlin
Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 219802 (2001)

Comment on “Breakdown of the Internet under Intentional Attack”

S. N. Dorogovtsev and J. F. F. Mendes
Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 219801 (2001)

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Vol. 86, Iss. 16 — 16 April 2001

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