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The WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS in May 2017 and the Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March 2018, are two recent examples that international conflict takes many forms.

This spectrum of covert techniques goes by many names, like 'unconventional warfare' or 'hybrid warfare'. For Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor of Sky News, the 'grey zone' is a much easier way for news audiences to understand the obscurity of this territory.

She created a podcast series on this topic that has been niggling her for two or three years. Into The Grey Zone first aired in January and has now run its course of nine episodes, exploring a range of assassinations, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns that fall under this banner.

One of the themes which cropped up is the role of journalists and news organisations in the grey zone. Haynes herself has been trolled and accused of being a propagandist of the state in response to her reporting on a data leak surrounding an anti-Russian disinformation charity.

In this week's podcast, Haynes says that the grey zone is not going away any time soon. Journalists must protect themselves but also take care not to actively or accidentally contribute to the spread of disinformation surrounding these attacks.

From data leaks to suspicious freelance job offers, she calls for newsrooms to be aware that the online environment is also a hostile one, and there are no journalists who are immune to its dangers.

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