Toward Inherently Secure and Resilient Societies

Short Description

Resiliency is defined as the capability of a system to maintain its functions and structure in the face of internal and external change and to degrade gracefully when it must. Developing enhanced resiliency is a rational strategy when the probability and specifics of a particular challenge are difficult to define. However, resiliency is not a global characteristic of a system; it can meaningfully be determined only with reference to an identified system and particular challenges. The Internet, for example, is characterized by a few hubs with high connectivity and an increasing number of other hubs with decreasing connectivity. Such scale-free networks are highly resistant to random failures, in that a substantial number of links can fail and still not affect the performance of the network as a whole. But such architectures are very vulnerable to a deliberate attack directed against the major hubs (1). For example, the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center only indirectly affected the Internet, which continued to function almost flawlessly (2); it would be much less resilient if directly attacked.

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Suggested Citation

Allenby, Brad, and Jonathan Fink. "Toward Inherently Secure and Resilient Societies." Science 309.5737 (2005): 1034-1036