Understanding Influence Operations in Social Media: A Cyber Kill Chain Approach

Abstract:

Discussions about recent state-run influence operations in social media often focus only on quantitative elements—the number of people interacting with fake news or how many tweets were sent by bots. This article suggests that understanding how influence operations in social media may affect individuals and groups requires a socio-technical approach to examine what is unique about the social media information environment and people’s interactions in and through these media. A socio-technical understanding emerges through the development of a model based on the Cyber Kill Chain that conceptualises the influence operation process as interlinked stages seeking alternate actions from a target audience.


AUTHORS

Photo of Dr. Arild Bergh

Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) Kjeller,
Norway

Dr. Arild Bergh is a senior researcher in the Comprehensive Defence department at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). He has a PhD in sociology from the University of Exeter on the topic of conflict transformation. Prior to this, he worked for 20 years as a software developer in the UK, mainly in the area of database design and development. These complementary skills are used to research socio-technical issues that affect the Norwegian Armed Forces and civilian society. Currently, he works on influence operations in social media. The focus here is to understand how malign actors manipulate social media platforms, what they achieve, and how democracies can detect and tackle them. He is currently involved in NATO work on online information environment assessment.

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.

Quick Links

View the latest issue of JIW.

Latest Edition

Purchase a subscription to JIW.

Subscribe

Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

D

DNS
DoD
DoS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

Quill Logo

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Get in touch

  • Journal of Information Warfare
    114 Ballard Street
    Yorktown, VA
    23690
  • 757.871.3949
  • jiw@gbpts.com