Hybrid CoE Working Paper 8: Hybrid threats in the financial system

The financial system, given its centrality to day-to-day economic transactions, is an attractive target for adversarial action. Like hybrid threats in general, hybrid threats emerging in the financial domain are always aimed at exerting a strategic impact. The importance of the financial system as a link between different sectors in society makes it an enabler of hybrid threats, which potentionally can have cascading effects on non-economic domains of the target country/region.

Due to the financial, monetary, and single market interdependencies undermining the financial systems credibility, or otherwise disrupting its operations, can create havoc in an EU member state and in the EU generally. This Hybrid CoE Working Paper bases on the main findings from the workshop “Hybrid threats in the financial system” organised by Hybrid CoE CoI Vulnerabilities and Resilience (CoI VR) in close cooperation with Bruegel, an European think tank that specializes in economics. The workshop examined hybrid threats in the context of the financial system by assessing vulnerabilities and solutions for effective protective measures and improved resilience. This working paper aims to shed light on how the financial system can be used as an enabler or target of disturbance.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 7: Quantum Sciences – Disruptive Innovation in Hybrid Warfare

Quantum technologies will lead to enormously improved computingcommunicationcryptographynavigation, and sensing capabilities that will enable hybrid actors to push the envelope of hybrid aggression”, argues Ralph Thiele.

Technological trends suggest that the portfolio of hybrid hazards will rapidly expand. With their disruptive potential, they open up new avenues for violence, as well as for the use of force in a hybrid warfare/conflict environment. New technologies have a catalytic effect on hybrid methods and tools. They improve the starting conditions for hybrid action, expand the arsenal of hybrid players and thus help to increase the reach of their activities as well as their prospects of success. Today, new technologies provide a way to achieve political goals in the grey area of various interfaces, such as between war and peace.

With this in mind, the Hybrid CoE and its Community of Interest for Strategy and Defence (COI S&D) have initiated the Hybrid Warfare: Future & Technologies (HYFUTEC) project, aimed at assessing and enhancing understanding of the disruptive potential of new technologies in the context of hybrid warfare/conflict. Within its broad future & technology horizon scanning, the project has identified 19 technological trends with urgent and profound implications in the context of hybrid scenarios.

In order to provide insights into selected technological trends and to enhance understanding of their implications for hybrid warfare/conflict COI S&D is publishing a series of HYFUTEC Technology Papers under the umbrella of Hybrid CoE Working Papers. HYFUTEC Technology Paper No. 2 concentrates on Quantum Sciences as a game-changing paradigm and disruptive innovation in Hybrid Warfare.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 6: Artificial Intelligence – A Key Enabler of Hybrid Warfare

Technological trends suggest that the portfolio of hybrid hazards will rapidly expand. With their disruptive potential, they open up new avenues for violence, as well as for the use of force in a hybrid warfare/conflict environment. New technologies have a catalytic effect on hybrid methods and tools. They improve the starting conditions for hybrid action, expand the arsenal of hybrid players and thus help to increase the reach of their activities as well as their prospects of success. Today, new technologies provide a way to achieve political goals in the grey area of various interfaces, such as between war and peace. Hybrid aggressors, but also NATO, EU and their member states can expect vast and diverse operational benefits from AI.

With this in mind, the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) and its Community of Interest for Strategy and Defence (COI S&D) have initiated the Hybrid Warfare: Future & Technologies (HYFUTEC) project, aimed at assessing and enhancing understanding of the disruptive potential of new technologies in the context of hybrid warfare/conflict. Within its broad future & technology horizon scanning, the project has identified 19 technological trends with urgent and profound implications in the context of hybrid scenarios.

In order to provide insights into selected technological trends and to enhance understanding of their implications for hybrid warfare/conflict COI S&D is publishing a series of HYFUTEC Technology Papers under the umbrella of Hybrid CoE Working Papers. HYFUTEC Technology Paper No. 1 concentrates on Artificial Intelligence as a catalyst and key enabler of hybrid warfare.”


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 5: HANDBOOK ON MARITIME HYBRID THREATS — 10 Scenarios and Legal Scans

The report illustrates how public international law, and specifically the international law of the sea, can be harnessed as a tool for detrimental security measures at sea. By juxtaposing the rights contained in the inter­national maritime law, the malicious hybrid actor has the opportunity to create a confusing and challenging situation, in which the target may have the utmost difficulty, and the larger international community as well, in forming an accurate situational awareness and making the necessary decisions on proper counter responses in a timely fashion. During the past few years, the world has already witnessed several such activities, highlighting how preparedness at all levels needs to be improved to meet, counter and recover from such situations.

At worst, malicious security measures at sea may lead to significant damage. A minor but deadly military measure, provoked or not, may trigger International Armed Conflict to enter into force, which would allow one state to apply such measures as confiscations, controls and even blockades. In a hybrid conflict, these kinds of measures would enable one state to put a stranglehold on the shipping to and from another state. 

When a hybrid conflict emerges at sea, it is recommended that mitigation and proactive multinational measures be launched at the earliest possible convenience. This may prevent controversial situations from escalating into serious conflict, or worse. There should be low tolerance for infringements and a low threshold for initiating consultations with EU/NATO/United Nations. A unified, multinational response and/or presence at an early stage is likely to lower the risk of facing more serious impacts. Here, attribution (technical and political) plays a key role in defining countermeasures and as a tool of deterrence. 

The search for solutions at a multilateral level and common ways to better identify vulnerabilities in the maritime domain should continue in order to make such vulnerabilities fewer and weaker and to increase the overall resilience of the operational environment. For its part, this Handbook is intended to contribute to this work.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 4: Hybrid Threats and Vulnerabilities of Modern Critical Infrastructure – Weapons of Mass Disturbance (WMDi)?

The working paper takes stock of critical Infrastructure-related lessons identified and learned during a two-year assessment done by the Community of Interest for Vulnerabilities and Resilience in the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Modern critical Infrastructure seemingly serves as an effective instrument in the hands of adversaries able and willing to use hybrid tools. No widespread use of this possibility has thus far been tested in any serious conflict between developed states. The first time will quite likely surprise many.

Reference is made to modern critical Infrastructure Risk theory, which is connected to escala­tion theory of International conflicts. According to the main finding, a hybrid adversary may gain signif­icant benefits in conflicts by acting against critical Infrastructure in countries that are dependent on an open market economy and a transparent democratic decision-making process. Distraction and disruption describe the extreme tones of such an effect. Available asymmetric techniques such as cyber tools, covert special operations, information operations, political agitation and economic instruments, when combined with the vulnerabilities of modern critical Infrastructure, form a new threat. It is suggested that this threat be named “Weapons of Mass Disturbance (WMDi)”.

Resilience, attribution and exchange of information remain key words when improving defences against such potential activity.

Relevant critical Infrastructure is mainly owned by companies, not public services. The way forward must be planned together between states and the private sector. Community-level responses (EU, NATO) would be desirable in terms of regulation as well as preparedness.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 3: Building Resilience: Hybrid’s Weakness?

The fluidity of ‘Hybrid Threats’ makes them hard to theoretically grasp, and practically counter. This Working Paper encourages security practitioners to draw on insights from established work on resilience and civil preparedness. Resilience ensures that households, communities, societies, infrastructure and states are able to withstand and recover from shocks. Building resilience is an important part of the answer to hybrid threats, with its objective of normality juxtaposed to the chaos in which such threats thrive. The paper is written by Roger Clarke, Baltic Resilience Advisor, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK Government, and Dr Owen Jackson, Assistant Director – International Resilience, Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Cabinet Office, UK Government.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 2: From Nudge to Novichok: The response to the Skripal nerve agent attack holds lessons for countering hybrid threats

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia using a military grade nerve agent known as Novichok is an extreme manifestation of an “active measure” of a type for which the Russian state has been responsible in the past. The combination of the known Russian association with the development of the Novichok nerve agent, Russia’s likely motive to punish those the Russian state regards as traitors, and the fact that the poisoning of a former FSB defector using radioactive Polonium 210 had previously been carried out in the UK in 2006 led not only the British government but the US and other NATO allies and EU member states to declare publicly that there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of the Skripals and for using an internationally banned nerve agent to do so, writes Sir David Omand, Visiting Professor at King’s College London.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 1: Regional Cooperation to Support National Hybrid Defence Efforts

Hybrid CoE working paper to EU-NATO workshop, which served as feed in to NATO’s on-going Baltic Sea process and EU’s work on preparing a hybrid risk survey. The Paper was prepared to serve as food for thought for the workshop and is now published with key takeaways from the workshop.


Working paper

Medium-length papers covering work in progress. Provide ideas, working
hypothesis and analysis on current events relevant for understanding hybrid
threats in the constantly evolving security environment. Written by Hybrid CoE staff, a practitioner or academic expert.

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Critical infrastructure

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 8: Hybrid threats in the financial system

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Hybrid warfare

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 7: Quantum Sciences – Disruptive Innovation in Hybrid Warfare

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Hybrid warfare

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 6: Artificial Intelligence – A Key Enabler of Hybrid Warfare

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Critical infrastructure

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 5: HANDBOOK ON MARITIME HYBRID THREATS — 10 Scenarios and Legal Scans

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Critical infrastructure

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 4: Hybrid Threats and Vulnerabilities of Modern Critical Infrastructure – Weapons of Mass Disturbance (WMDi)?

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Resilience

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 3: Building Resilience: Hybrid’s Weakness?

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Deterrence

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 2: From Nudge to Novichok: The response to the Skripal nerve agent attack holds lessons for countering hybrid threats

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Resilience

Hybrid CoE Working Paper 1: Regional Cooperation to Support National Hybrid Defence Efforts

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