Robustness of interdependent networks under targeted attack

Xuqing Huang, Jianxi Gao, Sergey V. Buldyrev, Shlomo Havlin, H. Eugene Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

459 Scopus citations


When an initial failure of nodes occurs in interdependent networks, a cascade of failure between the networks occurs. Earlier studies focused on random initial failures. Here we study the robustness of interdependent networks under targeted attack on high or low degree nodes. We introduce a general technique which maps the targeted-attack problem in interdependent networks to the random-attack problem in a transformed pair of interdependent networks. We find that when the highly connected nodes are protected and have lower probability to fail, in contrast to single scale-free (SF) networks where the percolation threshold pc=0, coupled SF networks are significantly more vulnerable with pc significantly larger than zero. The result implies that interdependent networks are difficult to defend by strategies such as protecting the high degree nodes that have been found useful to significantly improve robustness of single networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065101
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2011


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