Every day millions of people are carrying out online transactions with thousands of new users joining in. With hacktivist groups like Anonymous and AntiSec on the prowl and with natural disasters like earthquakes affecting inter-continental connectivity, the question of how to make the Internet more sustainable, resilient and secure such that everyday transactions can be carried out with minimal disruption becomes quite important. Further, the lack of research and preparation against cyber threats, natural disasters, terrorist attacks may just bring the whole Internet down to a grinding halt.

James Sterbenz, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Kansas, is heading a team of researchers looking to design Internet of the future that is resilient to cyber attacks and natural disasters. Researchers involved in the $1.5 million project ‘resilient and survivable networking initiative’ – ResiliNets, are analyzing the complex networks of today that make up the Internet and the World Wide Web.

The project wiki notes, “..the consequences to disruption of the network are increasingly severe, and threaten the lives of individuals, the financial health of business, and the economic stability and security of nations and the world.”

According to the researchers, resilience and survivability is the key for the future of Internet infrastructure. For this reason, the ResiliNets is looking to understand and advance the state of resilience and survivability of computer networks such as the PSTN, World Wide Web, SCADA networks, mobile ad-hoc networks and the sensor networks.

Sterbenz said, “We look at that structure and analyze it to determine mathematically how robust it is against part of it being taken away.”

“When we do that, we can see how current networks as well as proposed networks and structures we add will make it more resilient,” he added.