Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Hybrid and Information Warfare: Challenging Topics for Risk Communication

Christine Große

Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Department of Communication, Quality Management and Information Systems, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.


This study seeks to enhance current understandings of the risk communication challenges associated with the information-related means employed in cyber space to exert inappropriate influence, which frequently focus on paralyzing people and undermining stability. These means can be part of a hybrid warfare strategy located in the gray zone between the poles of peace and war, which indicates the long-term and subtle character of such a strategy. Maneuvers to conceal invasive interventions that mask activities, confuse responses, and disguise actual intentions constitute particular challenges. This paper presents the results of a literature review that applied a snowball sampling approach and concentrated on uncovering the threat landscape and recognition of the gray zone. The results highlight the emergence of information and cyber conflicts, including state operations and discreditation, along with specific techniques, such as trolling and bots, in the Swedish context and beyond. The findings illustrate some challenges for risk communication in information and cyber warfare and their implications for research and practice.

Keywords: Hybrid conflict, Gray zone, Information warfare, Cyber policy, Information systems, Security, Socio-technical systems, Governance, Risk communication.

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