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Modeling structure and resilience of the dark network.

ABSTRACT

While the statistical and resilience properties of the Internet are no longer changing significantly across time, the Darknet, a network devoted to keep anonymous its traffic, still experiences rapid changes to improve the security of its users. Here we study the structure of the Darknet and find that its topology is rather peculiar, being characterized by a nonhomogeneous distribution of connections, typical of scale-free networks; very short path lengths and high clustering, typical of small-world networks; and lack of a core of highly connected nodes. We propose a model to reproduce such features, demonstrating that the mechanisms used to improve cybersecurity are responsible for the observed topology. Unexpectedly, we reveal that its peculiar structure makes the Darknet much more resilient than the Internet (used as a benchmark for comparison at a descriptive level) to random failures, targeted attacks, and cascade failures, as a result of adaptive changes in response to the attempts of dismantling the network across time.