Impact of Network Structure on Malware Propagation: A Growth Curve Perspective
42 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2008 Last revised: 17 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 16, 2015
Malicious software, commonly termed “malware,” continuously presents one of the top security concerns and causes tremendous worldwide financial losses for organizations. In this paper, we propose a structural risk model to analyze malware propagation dynamics measured by a four-parameter (asymptote, point of inflection, rate, and proportion of infection at inflection) growth curve. Using both social network data and technological network infrastructure from a large organization, we estimate the proposed structural risk model based on incident-specific nonlinear growth curves. This paper provides empirical evidence for the explanatory power of the structural characteristics of the underlying networks on malware propagation dynamics. This research provides useful findings for security managers in designing their malware defense strategies. Vaccination strategies based on the proposed structural risk model outperform the commonly used random vaccination strategies in terms of reducing the total number of infected computers.
Keywords: Information systems security, malware propagation, network analysis, social networks, technological networks, propagation trajectory
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