Critical Infrastructure Management for Telecommunication Networks

Critical Infrastructure Management for Telecommunication Networks

Haibo Wang (Sanchez School of Business, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX, USA), Bahram Alidaee (School of Business Administration, University of Mississippi, University, MS, USA), Wei Wang (Sanchez School of Business, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX, USA) and Wei Ning (Sanchez School of Business, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijkss.2014010101
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Abstract

Telecommunication network infrastructures both stationary and ad hoc, play an important role in maintaining the stability of society worldwide. The protection of these critical infrastructures and their supporting structures become highly challenged due to its complexity. The understanding of interdependency of these infrastructures is the essential step to protect these infrastructures from destruction and attacks. This paper presents a critical infrastructure detection model to discover the interdependency based on the theories from social networks and new telecommunication pathways while this study transforms social theory into computational constructions. The procedure and solution of protecting critical infrastructures are discussed and computational results from the proposed model are presented.
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Introduction

The Internet has become something that we cannot afford to live without. The Internet has been gradually accepted and implemented in almost every aspect of our daily life. To imagine that one may live without internet sounds absurd; however, such possibility has never been ruled out even though Internet has not stopped functioning in large scale since its inception. In July 2012, about 70,000 U.S. Internet users were in such situation. Their Internet accesses were stopped because the servers they were connected with were forced to shut down by the FBI after a malware named “DNSChanger” had contaminated those servers. Internationally, around 4 million Internet users were affected by this pesky malware designed and distributed by six Estonian malware authors. These 70,000 Internet users were not alone. On January 30, 2008, the undersea Internet cables connecting India to Egypt were cut, and during the following week, similar incidents happened to the cables of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iran, which took the most serious impact with a substantial portion of its domestic Internet access shutdown. It is still not clear how these cables were cut, or by whom. However, one thing is for sure, that the Internet infrastructures are more vulnerable and less protected than we thought (Eagleman, 2012).

The two examples above show clearly the importance and vulnerability of the Internet. In fact, the Internet, together with other infrastructures, has been considered a very critical infrastructure. In general, critical infrastructures are those systems, assets, facilities and capabilities, whether physical or virtual, whose debilitation would have a massive impact on social, economic and environmental continuity of a country. Critical infrastructures are ubiquitous, though not readily visible; they cover a wide range of activities in modern society including the daily household usage of water, the transportation system which commutes us from place to place every day, the banking system that makes transactions much faster than ever before and many other systems and assets we rely on.

Having permeated nearly every aspect of modern society, critical infrastructure has already become the basis of our daily life and if crippled, it poses much greater threats than any other incidents. The tragic day of 911 in 2001 shed a light on the importance of critical infrastructure, where the commercial flight network was blocked and several airports were shut down for safety concerns. Therefore, critical infrastructure bears enormous social, economic and environmental importance and has to be treated with top priority.

The U.S. is the first country on the globe that realized the importance of critical infrastructure. In 1996 President Clinton launched the first initiative to address the emerging large-scale challenge for the security of national critical infrastructure. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, however, the latent risk of critical infrastructure security seemed far from reality. As of this writing, most developing countries still have not adopted a central defense strategy for their critical infrastructures at the national level.

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