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A Stochastic Model of Multivirus Dynamics

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3 Author(s)
Shouhuai Xu ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA ; Wenlian Lu ; Zhenxin Zhan

Understanding the spreading dynamics of computer viruses (worms, attacks) is an important research problem, and has received much attention from the communities of both computer security and statistical physics. However, previous studies have mainly focused on single-virus spreading dynamics. In this paper, we study multivirus spreading dynamics, where multiple viruses attempt to infect computers while possibly combating against each other because, for example, they are controlled by multiple botmasters. Specifically, we propose and analyze a general model (and its two special cases) of multivirus spreading dynamics in arbitrary networks (i.e., we do not make any restriction on network topologies), where the viruses may or may not coreside on computers. Our model offers analytical results for addressing questions such as: What are the sufficient conditions (also known as epidemic thresholds) under which the multiple viruses will die out? What if some viruses can "rob” others? What characteristics does the multivirus epidemic dynamics exhibit when the viruses are (approximately) equally powerful? The analytical results make a fundamental connection between two types of factors: defense capability and network connectivity. This allows us to draw various insights that can be used to guide security defense.

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Dependable and Secure Computing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 1 )