This Academic Incubator column is part of a partnership with the Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, presenting regular expert commentary on global security-related issues by faculty, fellows, and students. This piece was submitted by Matthew O’Shaughnessy, a Ph.D. student in the School of Electrical ...

Eric Shiraev, Political Psychologist, George Mason University Dr. Eric Shiraev is a political psychologist from George Mason University, USA, where he heads a lab on reputational politics. He is author of more than twenty books including International Relations (Oxford), Russian Government and Politics (Macmillan), and Character Assassination Throughout the Ages. Dr. Holger ...

Jorhena Thomas is a Clinical Instructor and Lecturer in the Crime, Justice, and Security Studies program at the University of the District of Columbia; in the Applied Intelligence Program at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies; and in the American University School of International Service and School of Public ...

Ever wonder how a CIA Analyst spots fake news? A new book out today by former CIA Analyst Cindy Otis, True or False:  A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News takes a crack at sharing the kind of analytical thinking that helps you know what you’re reading online and ...

Edward Bozeman is a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars and has a combined 16 years of experience in the Military and as a consultant in the Intelligence Community. Mr. Bozeman is working on his graduate practicum at American University's School of International Service which is focused ...

Col. Roman Vitkovitsky is the Director of Cyberspace Operations for the United States Marine Corps. He was previously the DARPA Service Chief Fellow and the Chief Strategist for DISA. The views presented here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the Department of Defense and its components. ...

Kurt Sanger is a Judge Advocate with the United States Marine Corps. He received an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center and a JD from the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. The views presented are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the US ...

Dr. Leo Blanken is an Associate Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Rational Empires: Institutional Incentives and Imperial Expansion and co-editor of Assessing War: The Challenge of Measuring Success and Failure.  The COVID19 crisis comes at a time when the existing structure ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare by Thomas Rid Reviewed by Rick Ledgett Cipher Brief Expert Rick Ledgett served as the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency from January 2014 until his retirement in April 2017, culminating a nearly 40 year career in cryptology at ...

The Cipher Brief Threat Conference has been re-scheduled for September 13-15, 2020.  This special series of national security briefings has been launched to keep our public-private threat conference community together and engaged on the issues that matter until we can safely gather again. Conference speaker Christopher Costa is a former ...

  Bottom Line Up Front It was only a matter of time before Russia looked to spread disinformation surrounding the coronavirus, a global pandemic that is crippling nations’ health care systems and economies. Russia has been presented with new fault lines to target as a result of the pandemic including ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Deep fakes are videos that have been digitally altered or manipulated to produce human bodies and/or faces that look and sound authentic. With the proliferation of social media and accessible software and technologies, there are many options available to anyone seeking to manipulate videos and ...

This week, Russia test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from its new nuclear submarine, as Facebook says Moscow is stepping up its efforts to spread disinformation in Africa.  That’s just this week.  Going back a few more days, U.S. and British officials say Russian hackers piggy-backed on an Iranian spy operation ...

REVIEW: Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It by Richard Stengel Reviewed by Cindy L. Otis Cindy L. Otis served in the CIA as a military analyst, intelligence briefer, and manager in the Directorate of Intelligence. While at the CIA, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of the discussion around disinformation focuses on the role of nation-states, violent non-state actors have also developed fairly sophisticated disinformation capabilities. Disinformation can take many forms, including the use of manipulated images and videos, digital engineering attacks, ‘truthing,’ and ‘social proofing.’ In 2017, ...

The Cipher Brief is running a special series on disinformation – in all of its forms – ahead of the 2020 U.S. Election.  This week, The Cipher Brief spoke with former CIA analyst and Intelligence Briefer Cindy Otis, about how foreign intelligence services use conspiracy theories to sow distrust and ...

The Cipher Brief’s new Academic Incubator program publishes the work of undergraduate and graduate students, writing short briefs on current national security issues. This week’s briefer is Jessica ‘Zhanna’ Malekos Smith, the Reuben Everett Cyber Scholar at Duke Law School.  Smith served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force ...

The Cipher Brief is running a special series on disinformation over the next several months.  We’ll introduce you to experts in the field who will share ways to identify disinformation efforts, help you critically think your way through what you see and share tips on what to do when you ...

As protesters filled the streets of Hong Kong calling for democratic rights, agents of influence were operating behind the scenes to affect the way the protests are perceived by different audiences. In Hong Kong, the images reflect a demonstration movement, but in China, the images are tailored to a narrative ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China has taken a page from Russia’s playbook as Beijing systematically wages an online disinformation campaign aimed at inflating support for Hong Kong's ruling authorities. Beijing has deployed a relentless disinformation campaign on Twitter and Facebook powered by unknown numbers of bots, trolls, and so-called ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Given Russia's relentless disinformation campaigns, several European countries have accelerated efforts to prepare their populations for this threat. While successful examples of promoting resilience to disinformation are rare, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark have made strides to help inoculate their populations. Given Russian meddling in the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front:  The success of Russia’s meddling in 2016 U.S. election ensures that Moscow will employ similar disinformation efforts as 2020 approaches. Indicating the severity of the threat, DNI Dan Coats recently announced the creation of the federal government's first 'election threats executive.' Both governments and private ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Russia continues to use social media disinformation to sow doubt, effectively deploying an army of trolls across the Internet. On almost every issue—race, religion, government—Russian social media campaigns aim to create division in western societies. With false scare tactics, these campaigns have made Brexit a ...

The U.S. - Russia relationship is a complicated one, to say the least.  While investigations into potential collusion carry the headlines in Washington, there is a fragile balancing act going on behind the scenes. Take the gas and energy market as one small example. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is due ...

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has released the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and ...