Cyber Social Disruption due to Cyber Attacks


  • Jorge Barbosa Coimbra Polytechnic Institute, Portugal



Cyber Social Disruption, Cyber Dependence, Cyber Warfare, Critical Infra-Structures Protection


We analyze the implications of cyber war actions directed at specific targets, such as critical infrastructures, for modern civil societies that are profoundly dependent on computer systems. These critical infrastructures, whether they are cyber-physical systems or computer systems can be paralyzed or even destroyed if the systems used to directly or remotely manage them are cyber-attacked. Cyber-attacks in the context of cyber war, can generate chaos, which combined with the domino effects caused by the impact on other computer systems, then those directly attacked but indirectly affected, can theoretically lead to major disruptions to the internal order, or even to civil war, due to the scope that such actions may reach. The disturbances caused in civil society as a whole, and in military structures and equipment can go far beyond the local effects on the targets attacked, as would happen in a conventional kinetic war action. The crisis and social disturbance caused may even put the sovereignty of the attacked state at risk. For this specific case of social disruption, which is caused by cyber war actions, we use a concept to describe the situation more adequately, which we call Cyber Social Disruption.

Author Biography

Jorge Barbosa, Coimbra Polytechnic Institute, Portugal

PhD & MSc degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal; Former President of Coimbra Polytechnic University – ISEC; Coordinator Professor, Coimbra Polytechnic University - ISEC; Auditor of the National Defense Course, Portuguese National Defense Institute (IDN); Auditor of the Cybersecurity Course and Crisis Management in Cyberspace, Portuguese National Defense Institute (IDN); Auditor of the Civil Crisis Management Course, Portuguese National Defense Institute (IDN); President of National Defense Course Auditors Association - Coimbra – AACDN/RC