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VIS – Vulnerability of the Information System and its inter-sectoral, economic and social impacts

When one piece of critical infrastructure is down, the impact can be more far-reaching than predicted. The VIS simulator is able to assess the likely effect on production in one industrial sector, or in the whole economy.

Project dates 01/07/2008 - 31/05/2009
TopicCIP | Crisis Management
Total budget€339 645
EU contribution69%
Project CoordinatorFondazione FORMIT (Italy)

Project Description

Most of the world’s critical infrastructures today rely largely on information and communication technology (ICT). The infrastructures are tightly interconnected, interdependent and exposed, both to attacks and accidental failures. When one infrastructure is affected, this may quickly spread to others.

The goal of the VIS project was to develop a way of assessing the degree to which the economy is affected by ICT breakdown. The team wanted a tool that could be used to measure the impact at different levels, whether on an individual company, a particular sector, several sectors or the economy in general.

Benefits and results

The VIS simulator looks at factors such as variations in output, employment, prices and value of production in all sectors of a national economy. It can simulate a shock of one or more production factors in one or several economic sectors. For example, it can assess the consequences of ICT used solely by the financial sector, or of ICT used across the economy. It also provides information on which sectors are the most vulnerable in a crisis.

The results could be used by decision-makers to develop policies that will guarantee security and resilience during a crisis situation. Specifically, the results allow decision-makers to see the economic and social impacts of breakdowns/shortages at national level and at European level, and to provide the information necessary to put in place measures to prevent cascading effects.

The tool’s flexibility makes it particularly valuable. It is able to simulate a scenario in a particular geographic region, to define the nature of the breakdown, and to adjust the intensity and duration of the recovery.

Additional tools