Resilience to cyber-enabled foreign interference: citizen understanding and threat perceptions

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Cyber-enabled foreign interference remains a key threat to many advanced industrial countries. In many cases, the security response has been to build “resilience” – cyber, national and, increasingly, democratic resilience – in line with whole-of-government and whole-of-society strategies. However, many of these securitised responses are “top-down” and elite driven. These resilience agendas do not pay sufficient attention to the views, concerns and threat-perceptions of citizens, potentially undermining their efficacy. In this article, we focus on the Australian case to better understand how citizen cyber skills, threat awareness, and perceptions of institutional capacity can inform democratic resilience to evolving cyber and information risks. We find strong evidence of a clear gap between citizen views and the securitised responses of governments in dealing with cyber-enabled foreign interference. A further issue from the Australian case is that citizens are framed as a passive strategic resource, rather than conceived of as a potentially substantive partner in a “joined-up” response.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalDefence Studies
Early online date20 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2022


  • Resilience
  • foreign interference
  • cyber-enabled threats


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