Wormhole: The Hidden Virus Propagation Power
of a Search Engine in Social Networks
Abstract-Today search engines are tightly coupled with social networks, and present users with a double-edged sword: they are able to acquire information interesting to users but are also capable of spreading viruses introduced by hackers. It is challenging to characterize how a search engine spreads viruses, since the search engine serves as a virtual virus pool and creates propagation paths over the underlying network structure.Here quantitatively analyze virus propagation effects and the stability of the virus propagation process in the presence of a search engine in social networks. First, although social networks have a community structure that impedes virus propagation, we find that a search engine generates a propagation wormhole. Second, propose an epidemic feedback model and quantitatively analyze propagation effects employing four metrics: infection density, the propagation wormhole effect, the epidemic threshold, and the basic reproduction number. Third, verify our analyses on four real-world data sets and two simulated data sets. Moreover, prove that the proposed model has the property of partial stability. Evaluation results show that, compablack with to a case without a search engine present, virus propagation with the search engine has a higher infection density, shorter network diameter, greater propagation velocity, lower epidemic threshold, and larger basic reproduction number.
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