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Abstract

This paper introduces size-adjusted growth models of network security attacks. The primary aim of this article is to test the hypothesis that rapid growth of network attack incidents is at least partly explainable by the exponential increase in network size. The growth of network security attacks is modeled from information obtained after looking into: (i) imitation and deterrence processes involved in an attack, and (ii) how network externalities such as size influence the growth process. The non-linear models are estimated by using data from network security attacks obtained during the course of 10 years. We first show that network size is strongly correlated with various types of attack incidents, thus lending proof that size is an important factor in most network security attacks. Next, the results obtained from the diffusion models show that when both imitation and deterrence activities are taken into account and size effect is also added to a growth model, the attacks can be modeled more realistically. The targeted audience of this paper are IS researchers and professionals with interest in IS security.

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