Social Cybersecurity: A Policy Framework for Addressing Computational Propaganda


After decades of Internet diffusion, geopolitical and information threats posed by cyberspace have never been greater. While distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, email hacks, and malware are concerns, nuanced online strategies for psychological influence, including state-sponsored disinformation campaigns and computational propaganda, pose threats that democracies struggle to respond to. Indeed, Western cybersecurity is failing to address the perspective of Russia’s ‘information security,’—manipulation of the user as much as of the network. Based in computational social science, this paper argues for cybersecurity to adopt more proactive social and cognitive (non-kinetic) approaches to cyber and information defense. This protects the cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral capacities required for a democracy to function by preventing psychological apparatuses, such as confirmation bias and affective polarization, that trigger selective exposure, echo chambers, in-group tribalization, and out-group threat labelling.

Machine Intelligence to Detect, Characterise, and Defend against Influence Operations in the Information Environment


Deceptive content—misleading, falsified, and fabricated—is routinely created and spread online with the intent to create confusion and widen political and social divides. This study presents a comprehensive overview of content intelligence capabilities (WatchOwl– https://watchowl. pnnl.gov/) to detect, describe, and defend against information operations on Twitter as an example social platform to explain the influence of misleading content diffusion and enable those charged with defending against such manipulation and responsive parties to counter it. We first present deep learning models for misinformation and disinformation detection in multilingual and multimodal settings followed by psycho-linguistic analysis across broad deception categories. 

Influence Operations & International Law


There is no treaty or specifically applicable customary international law that deals squarely with ‘Influence Operations’ (IO). Despite this, there are a number of discrete areas of international law that nonetheless apply indirectly to regulate this activity. These principally relate to the Use of Force (Jus ad Bellum), International Human Rights Law, and the Law of Armed Conflict. Influence Operations are presumptively lawful in each of these three areas provided that such activities do not cross relatively high thresholds of prohibition. In the event that an IO does cross a prohibition set by international law, there are a number of responses available to a targeted State.

Understanding and Assessing Information Influence and Foreign Interference


The information influence framework was developed to identify and to assess hostile, strategy-driven, state-sponsored information activities. This research proposes and tests an analytical approach and assessment tool called information influence and interference to measure changes in the level of strategy-driven, state-sponsored information activities by the timeliness, specificity, and targeted nature of communications as well as the dissemination tactics of publicly available information. 

Disinformation in Hybrid Warfare: The Rhizomatic Speed of Social Media in the Spamosphere


In this paper, two case studies are analysed, namely Finland’s Rapid Reaction Force and the arrest of a Russian citizen in Finland at the request of U.S. officials. A so-called rhizomatic focus (Deleuze and Guattari 1983) is adopted to assess social networking spam and the implications that this phenomenon has for interaction in security cases. In both case studies, the respective timeline of events and the social media impacts on the rhizomatic ‘spam’ information context are analysed.

Twitter as a Vector for Disinformation


Twitter is a social network that represents a powerful information channel with the potential to be a useful vector for disinformation. This paper examines the structure of the Twitter social network and how this structure has facilitated the passing of disinformation both accidental and deliberate. Examples of the use of Twitter as an information channel are examined from recent events. The possible effects of Twitter disinformation on the information sphere are explored as well as the defensive responses users are developing to protect against tainted information.

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.












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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.


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