Network vulnerability to single, multiple, and probabilistic physical attacks

Pankaj K. Agarwal, Alon Efrat, Shashidhara K. Ganjugunte, David Hay, Swaminathan Sankararaman, Gil Zussman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Telecommunications networks heavily rely on the physical infrastructure and, are therefore, vulnerable to natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, as well as to physical attacks, such as an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack. Largescale disasters are likely to destroy network equipment and to severely affect interdependent systems such as the power-grid. In turn, long-term outage of the power-grid might cause additional failures to the telecommunication network. In this paper, we model an attack as a disk around its epicenter, and provide efficient algorithms to find vulnerable points within the network, under various metrics. In addition, we consider the case in which multiple disasters happen simultaneously and provide an approximation algorithm to find the points which cause the most significant destruction. Finally, since a network element does not always fail, even when it is close to the attack's epicenter, we consider a simple probabilistic model in which the probability of a network element failure is given. Under this model, we tackle the cases of single and multiple attacks and develop algorithms that identify potential points where an attack is likely to cause a significant damage.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication2010 IEEE Military Communications Conference, MILCOM 2010
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 IEEE Military Communications Conference, MILCOM 2010 - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 31 Oct 20103 Nov 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Military Communications Conference MILCOM


Conference2010 IEEE Military Communications Conference, MILCOM 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Computational geometry
  • Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
  • Geographic networks
  • Network design
  • Network survivability


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