Integrated Infrastructure: Cyber Resiliency in Society

Mapping the Consequences of an Interconnected Digital Economy

We are increasingly connected through, and reliant on, digital infrastructure to drive innovation and expedite efficiency. Yet the digital age has also accelerated the threat of cyber disruptions and increased the available attack surface of critical assets, networks and systems that sustain a nation’s safety and prosperity.

With the increasingly interconnected nature of our critical national infrastructure, the impact of a cyberattack on a power distribution network could be wide-ranging and costly for both society and the economy.

The Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and Leidos have been working together on the first study of its kind to explore the effect that a coordinated cyberattack on the UK’s power distribution network could have.

 

The report, Integrated Infrastructure: Cyber Resiliency in Society, models the societal, supply chain, and macroeconomic consequences of a coordinated cyberattack on the UK’s power distribution network, quantifying both the immediate and long-term impact on the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over a five year period.

By modelling a sustained and coordinated cyberattack on the power distribution network in South-East England, the report underlines the subsequent impact for other key industry sectors including Financial and Professional Services, Retail, Construction, Transportation, Education and Health. In the most conservative scenario the five year GDP impact is £49 billion ($79 billion). In the most severe case, these figures increase to £85 billion ($120 billion) and £442 billion ($622 billion) respectively.

For any service-based economy, prevalent in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Australasia, the lessons are stark and eminently transferable.