The Revenge of Distance: Vulnerability Analysis of Critical Information Infrastructure

Research paper by Sean Gorman, Laurie Schintler, Raj Kulkarni, Roger Stough

Indexed on: 17 Oct '03Published on: 17 Oct '03Published in: Physics - Disordered Systems and Neural Networks


The events of 9/11 brought an increased focus on security in the United States and specifically the protection of critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure encompasses a wide array of critical assets such as the electric power grid, telecommunications, oil and gas pipelines, and transportation networks. This paper will focus on telecommunication networks and the spatial implications of their susceptibility to targeted attack. Utilizing a database of national data carriers, simulations will be run to determine the repercussions of targeted attacks and what the relative merits of different methods of identifying critical nodes are. The analysis will include comparison of current methods employed in vulnerability analysis with spatially constructed methods incorporating regional and distance variables. In addition to the vulnerability analysis a method will be proposed to analyze the fusion of physical and logical networks, and will discuss what new avenues this approach reveals. The results of the analysis will be placed in the context of national and regional security and economic impact.