Abstract — Email viruses constitute one of the major Internet security problems. In this paper we present an email virus model that accounts for the behaviors of email users, such as email checking frequency and the probability of opening an email attachment. Email viruses spread over a logical network defined by email address books. The topology of email network plays an important role in determining the behavior of an email virus spreading. Our observations suggest that the node degrees in an email network are heavy-tailed distributed and we model it as a power law network. We compare email virus propagation on three topologies: power law, small world and random graph topologies. The impact of the power law topology on the spread of email viruses is mixed: email viruses spread more quickly than on a small world or a random graph topology but immunization defense against viruses is more effective on a power law topology
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