Hybrid treats: defence line from the grassroots

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Defence & Security Technologies, Volume 3, Issue 1, Number 5, p.84-95 (2020)




Culture of cybersecurity, Cybersecurity, ethics, Hybrid Threats, privacy


As a side effect of globalisation and massive cyber services the number of crimes both perpetrated at the local and global level is growing up. The discontinuity ignited by cyber technology and its pervasiveness created the fundamentals for a completely new scenario to reach the goals underpinning a conflict. A new type of hostile actions can be grouped under the umbrella of “hybrid threats”, a mixture of coercive and subversive activity, conventional and unconventional methods. A pure cyber conflict is based on bit and bytes “soldiers” attacking key cyber assets ranging between markets and stock exchange to citizens’ behaviour and “smart” objects. This new approach will enable state or non-state actors to achieve specific objectives while remaining below the threshold of formally declared warfare. This term includes: massive disinformation campaigns, using social media to control the political narrative or to radicalise, recruit and direct proxy actors can be vehicles for hybrid threats. Global networking is one of the building blocks of our society, communication, information, government, health, education, mobility, markets, the list of involved sectors is endless, all of them rely on cybersecurity and the trustfulness of the information provided through the network. An ever-increasing volume of information is flowing through the network including messages concerning potential future risks of cyber-weapons. There is a clear need to adopt a renovated set of countermeasures to face and possibly cancel or mitigate such harms. Big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning together with other technologies may help in these tasks. Governments and Law Enforcement Agencies are aware of this and look for potential countermeasures not only following traditional solutions. Anyway, technological countermeasures are not enough there is a need to foster the Culture of Cyber Security as a first defence line.