CRISP - Simulation Game

Simulation Game

New Simulation Game: Cybersecurity – Ethical Debates

In the scope of the International Futures Program, Program implemented by the German Federal foreign office in cooperation with “German Society for Foreign Policy” (DGAP), CRISP had the pleasure to implement a simulation game on the complexity of cybersecurity and possible reaction to cyber-attacks, when they come from an external source.

Quick facts


4 hours


Berlin, Germany


33 diplomats and young leaders from China,

Indonesia, India, South Africa, Brazil Mexico and Germany

The 18th of September participants from China, India, Indonesia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa enjoyed the chance to discuss ethical questions within the current cybersecurity debate. For half a day participants discussed the consequences and possible reaction if a government is threatened by a disruptive cyber-attack stemming from an external source that aims to manipulate democratic elections. 

Project Goals / Content

The simulation game sets out to encourage participants to engage with the virtual dimension of conflict and to discuss ethical dilemmas emerging from the topic of cybersecurity and cyber defence. In the current global development communication via the Internet becomes more and more important. Yet, the cyber-space is not immune against attacks such as hacking attacks, data breaches, data theft or disinformation campaigns. Therefore, cybersecurity is an important topic in politics. How should a government react when it is affected by a cyber-attack on their electoral process? Which agency is responsible to react? Which role does artificial Intelligence play in the decision-making process and ultimately is a nation state allowed to conduct proactive cyber-attacks themselves in order to secure the integrity of the cyber-space of their country? Those and more questions were to be discussed by using a scenario which examined the impact of an external cyber-threat to an ongoing democratic election.

Over the course of the simulation participants slipped into the roles of different stakeholders such as political parties, Intelligence agencies, Privacy Agencies, Private social media companies such as Facebook and Artificial Intelligence start-ups. In two different committees (national & international) they developed recommendations how a government should react to a serious cyber-attack. Thereby they had to negotiate different positions, interests and technological understanding to find suitable solutions.

In a final evaluation participants had the chance to not only effect upon their result, but also upon the cybersecurity debate more broadly and how a nation state and debates around defensive strategies are affected by increasing cyber-attacks.

The simulation did not aim to give a comprehensive understanding of technological solutions, but rather encouraged participants to get engaged in current ethical and legal questions around possible responses of states to cyber threats and cyber-attacks.

Target Group

The project was designed for diplomats and young leaders with an international focus. The international Futures Program brings experts from governments and think tanks from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa face-to-face with German diplomats and young leaders.


This workshop was implemented in close cooperation with