How are Hybrid Terms Discussed in the Recent Scholarly Literature?


  • Ilkka Tikanmäki Laurea University of Applied Sciences
  • Harri Ruoslahti Laurea University of Applied Sciences



Hybrid threats, hybrid influence, hybrid interference, hybrid warfare, hybrid operations


Hybrid threats range from cyber-attacks on critical systems to disruption of critical services (such as energy and financial services), influencing public confidence, and polarization within society. Awareness, resilience, and response to threats are central to countering hybrid threats. Hybrid warfare is not a new phenomenon, it has existed throughout the history of warfare, however, hybrid threat and hybrid warfare were re-defined as the western concept, as discussed in this paper, in 2014. Securing vital functions of society, i.e., managing overall security includes preparing for threats, and managing and recovering from disruptions and emergencies. Energy policy, which relies on cross-border energy transmission infrastructures (e.g., Russian gas line imports to Europe), can be a tool to influence foreign policy (Geo-economics). Trolls and cyber weapons can be used to impact information and elections, and their activity are based on supranational Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. The vital functions of society are prime targets for political, economic, and military pressure from external actors. Hybrid warfare deliberately blurs the boundaries between peacetime and wartime, which makes it difficult for targeted organizations and countries to plan appropriate and timely countermeasures. The threat of hybrid disruptions can be addressed with resilience. Multifaceted hybrid threats require planning and testing one’s defensive possibilities, so that the various actors of society will be able to respond to possible hybrid attacks and commit all areas of society for an effective defence. Identifying and understanding hybrid warfare is challenging. Situation awareness is a prerequisite, so societies and their organization can meet these challenges.

Author Biographies

Ilkka Tikanmäki, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

LTCDR (Eng., ret.), MBA (Information Systems) Ilkka Tikanmäki is a Researcher in Security and Risk Management of the Laurea University of Applied Sciences and a doctoral student of Operational art and tactics at the Finnish National Defence University.

Harri Ruoslahti, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

PhD Harri Ruoslahti is a Senior Lecturer in Security and Risk Management at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences. He is also Laurea’s PoC for the Horizon 2020 project European network of Cybersecurity centres and competence Hub for innovation and Operations (ECHO).