Academic journal article The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs

Building Governmental Resilience to Information Threats: The Case of Ukraine

Academic journal article The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs

Building Governmental Resilience to Information Threats: The Case of Ukraine

Article excerpt


In recent years, the idea of international and national security changed dramatically due to the shift within the scope of external and internal hostile actors. Several decades ago, the concept of international security was broadened to environmental and economic threats and became part of the societal security concept presented by the Copenhagen school of security studies. Prof. Barry Buzan addresses five different security threats that have preliminary importance for a state's security: military, political, economic, societal and environmental. The rapid growth of information technology (IT) and robotics produce increasing security challenges. Massive armies of internet trolls and bots can rapidly create more information (usually not based on facts) than society is able to process in years. People are overwhelmed with information, but at the same time tremendously uninformed. The technologies also have become cheaper and widely distributed. As a result, this produces a new sort of security issue best described as information threats.

The reality is that the use of internet bots and trolls and the massive spread of misinformation and disinformation destabilise and demoralise not only the society of a given country but become a serious threat to the country's international image and recognition as a trustworthy partner. The European External Action Service (EEAS) Stratcom Task Force counted that in January-September 2017, about 1 434 cases of deliberate misinformation were spread by pro-Kremlin forces all over Europe.

The goal of this research is to analyse how once country, in this case, Ukraine, has confronted and recovered-together, the concept of resilience- from this kind of security challenge. Information security has significant value to a state's security framework, and this issue today is under-researched. Unfortunately, there are no answers for now about how to secure and provide responses to the highlighted challenges. The research also introduces definitions that were had not been developed before, such as "governmental resilience," "information sovereignty," and "information occupation."

Working Definitions

The Oxford Dictionary defines "information security" as a condition when a state is "protected against the unauthorised use of information, especially electronic data."1 This definition is far-reaching and ill-defined. The U.S. Government Glossary of Interagency and Associated Terms (USGG, 2017) proposes several interpretations of the term of "information security." For this research, the practice-oriented definition used by the White House was chosen. The White House interprets "information security" as "the protection of information and information systems from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide: integrity, which means guarding against improper information modification or destruction, and includes ensuring information non-repudiation and authenticity; confidentiality, which means preserving authorised restrictions on access and disclosure, including means for protecting personal privacy and proprietary information; and availability, which means ensuring timely and reliable access to and use of information."2

The USGG does not define what is an "information crisis" or "information threat," but describes the situation of an "information security incident." [An "incident" is] "an occurrence that-(a) actually or potentially jeopardises the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system or the information such system processes, stores, or transmits; or (b) constitutes a violation or imminent threat of violation of security policies, security procedures, or acceptable use policies with respect to an information system."3

This definition is embracing, but still focuses on the cyber or IT component, when confidential governmental (such as security or military documents), sensitive private (personal data) or business (client or company data) information becomes unsecure and accessible to a third party. …

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