Rubén Arcos and Hanna Smith
Journal ICONO14, 19(1), 1-14.
Publication year: 2021
Abstract: Hybrid Threats is a concept that has entered to many states official documents and security strategies. Both the EU and NATO have taken serious measures to counter hybrid threats related activity. This special issue on digital communication and hybrid threats aims to advance our understanding of how hybrid threat actors use and can potentially exploit the information environment for targeting our democratic societies and decision-making processes at different levels for different purposes.
Information and communication technologies have brought remarkable advances in the ways we obtain information and build awareness on the world and its events and interact with the others, but at the same time, these developments create opportunities for conducting information and influence operations with a hostile intent at an unprecedented scales. Political warfare, active measures, and communication-led covert actions operations are not new, and propaganda has been used throughout the history in conflict and war like situations. However, today our digital communication environment and the communication tools that we employ for legitimate purposes are also being employed by hostile authoritarian actors and/or their proxies at a scale that has interfered in our democratic processes like elections, to erode
trust in our institutions, polarize and divide our societies in unhealthy ways and sow animosities between states and international partner countries. Since human beings make decisions based on their representations about the world and the information available through interpersonal symbolic interactions and through the different media, information can be deliberately utilized for a malign activity to produce cognitive, affective and behavioural effects