Security

Identifying Infection Sources and Regions in Large Networks

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Executive Summary

Identifying the infection sources in a network, including the individuals who started a rumor in a social network, the computers that introduce a virus into a computer network, or the index cases of a contagious disease, plays a critical role in limiting the damage caused by the infection through timely quarantine of the sources. The authors consider the problem of estimating the infection sources and the infection regions (subsets of nodes infected by each source) in a network, based only on knowledge of the underlying network connections, and when the number of sources is unknown a priori. They derive estimators for the infection sources and their infection regions based on approximations of the infection sequences counts.

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