Revealing Hybrid Threats: Vulnerability Exploitation in Romania's Social Media Landscape


  • Georgiana Daniela Lupulescu National Defense University "Carol I" Bucharest



Vulnerability, Disinformation, Resilience, Security weaknesses, Social media


Taking a deep look into hybrid operations characteristics, an important and omnipresent one is targeting vulnerabilities mode of action. As the global landscape evolves and challenges national security like never before, understanding the mechanisms state and non-state entities use to exploit vulnerabilities becomes paramount. By examining the contemporary geopolitical contexts, this article sheds light on the multifaceted strategies deployed by various actors through social media platforms to undermine the resilience of the Romanian state. Due to its geographical location, Romania is not only a major pillar for regional security but also has an important strategic role in maintaining security in both NATO and UE. Exploiting Romania’s security weaknesses may be the way hybrid actors pursue their geopolitical interests, ideological aims, and regional power struggles. At the beginning of the study, a short framework will be presented for the concept of vulnerabilities within a state, focusing on the security weaknesses that emerge from several domains, such as economic, political, technological, and in particular social susceptibilities, and how they manifest in social media. Following, the article will include methods and tactics used in social media, by various types of actors, considering the use of cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, covert influence, or economic coercion for a clearer image of the target-attack binomial. Furthermore, a short analysis of Romania’s exposure to hybrid threats will be provided. Starting from the research hypothesis that Romania’s geopolitical and geographical location is the key factor in establishing its vulnerability degree to hybrid threats manifestation, the main question that emerges is how to minimize its vulnerabilities. The methodology that will be used in conducting this research includes a short literature review of the concept of vulnerabilities within a state, as well as weaknesses exploitation through social media, followed by the case study analysis where we will be focusing on some of Romania’s vulnerabilities within social media. Through this comprehensive examination, this article underscores the significance of recognizing and addressing vulnerabilities within a state, particularly in the context of evolving global challenges and threats to national security. It emphasizes the strategic importance of Romania in maintaining regional and international security. The article serves as a wake-up call to the potential dangers posed by hybrid actors who exploit these vulnerabilities using social media platforms, urging Romania and its allies to take proactive measures to bolster their defense and resilience against these multifaceted threats.