A System Dynamics Model of Cyber Conflict

Dana Polatin-Reuben, Richard Craig, Theodoros Spyridopoulos, Theo Tryfonas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we try to determine whether a potential state-aggressor in a recent cyber attack can be identified through an understanding of shared international dependencies between nations. Combining the International Affairs and Systems Science disciplines, we put forth a system dynamics model of cyber conflict which may facilitate the identification of a culpable state or states in a cyber attack through publicly available information. Having identified 22 countries with military or civilian cyber capability, data on economic trade imports and diplomatic relationships were combined to identify dependencies, or countries upon which dependent countries rely for trade or military collaboration. The system dynamics model simulates diplomatic tension between two countries to estimate the probability of a cyber conflict. Nine case studies, in which the likely cyber combatant was identified, are used to test the model. Initial results yielded a number of prior indicators of cyber conflict, such as dips in trade imports from future cyber combatants up to 2 years before a launched cyber attack.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystems, Man, and Cybernetics - IEEE SMC 2013
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics - Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Oct 201316 Oct 2013


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Cyber Conflict
  • System Dynamics
  • International Relations
  • Interdependencies

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