Latest Research

A person is detained after Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot at close range in an assassination attempt, after a government meeting in Handlova, Slovakia, May 15, 2024. Source: REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa/File Photo)
May 2024

Online conspiracies proliferate following the attack on Slovakian PM Robert Fico

by Ruslan Trad

Anti-Western and anti-Ukraine narratives circulated online after the assassination attempt on the Slovakian prime minister.
A Ukrainian serviceman walks next to a residential building heavily damaged by Russian military strikes in the city of Avdiivka, Ukraine November 8, 2023. (Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via Reuters)
May 2024

Russian information operations targeted Ukraine and NATO during the battle for Avdiivka

by Valentin Châtelet, Sayyara Mammadova, Ruslan Trad

Pro-Kremlin Telegram channels and state media pushed multiple narratives to undermine Ukraine and its western partners
BANNER: Lanyards on display at the NetMundial+10 conference in São Paulo, Brazil. (Source: netmundial10)
May 2024

Internet governance interrupted 

by Konstantinos Komaitis

A readout of the events of NetMundial+10
May 2024

International Cyberspace & Digital Policy Strategy: AC Tech Programs Markup

by Emma Schroeder, Graham Brookie, Raul Brens Jr., Emerson Brooking, Safa Shahwan Edwards, Trey Herr, Rose Jackson

On May 6, the Department of State released the United States International Cyberspace & Digital Policy Strategy. Read along with AC Tech Programs staff, fellows, and experts for commentary and analysis.
May 2024

Lessons Learned from the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge 

by Sara Mishra, Hannah Dora Patterson, Ethan Moscot, and Andrew Vu

Students from Tufts University tell us their greatest lessons learned from competing in the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge.
Taiwan, New Taipei City, 2024/01/13. Poll officers show a box containing ballots after polls close at a polling station at an elementary school. (Source: Valeria Mongelli/Hans Lucas via Reuters)
May 2024

Targeting Taiwan: China’s influence efforts on the island

by Digital Forensic Research Lab

Chinese state media experimented on how to better reach Taiwanese audiences online around the January 2024 election
A demonstrator makes a heart-shaped gesture while standing in front of a police cordon during a rally to protest against the so-called foreign agents bill in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 1, 2024. (Source: REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze/File Photo)
May 2024

Pro-government Facebook ads target protests against foreign agents bill in Georgia

by Sopo Gelava

Dozens of Facebook ads targeted Georgian protesters with anti-Western and anti-LGBTQ+ narratives
Fireworks explode outside the Georgian parliament building in Tbilisi as protesters attempt to break through barrier constructions during a rally against the bill known as the foreign agents law, March 8, 2023. (Source: Reuters/Irakli Gedenidze)
May 2024

Russian-language Telegram channels foment tensions in Georgia

by Givi Gigitashvili

Telegram channels posting unverified content exacerbate political grievances between pro-Western and pro-Russian Georgians
May 2024

The 5×5—The XZ Backdoor: Trust and Open Source Software

by Nitansha Bansal, Stewart Scott

Open source software security experts share their insights into the XZ backdoor, and what it means for open source software security.

In-Depth Reports

April 2024

Markets Matter: A Glance into the Spyware Industry

by Jen Roberts, Trey Herr, Emma Taylor, Nitansha Bansal

The Intellexa Consortium is a complex web of holding companies and vendors for spyware and related services. The Consortium represents a compelling example of spyware vendors in the context of the market in which they operate—one which helps facilitate the commercial sale of software driving both human rights and national security risk.
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An image of a GPU overlaid with a computer terminal showing the results of an nmap command, a network scan.
February 2024

Hacking with AI

by Maia Hamin, Stewart Scott

Can generative AI help hackers? By deconstructing the question into attack phases and actor profiles, this report analyzes the risks, the realities, and their implications for policy.
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Smartphone with the app from TikTok on the flags of the USA and China. (Source: Reuters)
February 2024

TikTok: Hate the Game, Not the Player

by Rose Jackson, Seth Stodder, Kenton Thibaut

How Strategic and Regulatory Confusion Around TikTok Prevent an Effective National Security Response
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January 2024

Design Questions in the Software Liability Debate

by Maia Hamin, Sara Ann Brackett, and Trey Herr, with Andy Kotz

Software liability—resurgent in the policy debate since its mention in the 2023 US National Cybersecurity Strategy—describes varied potential structures to create legal accountability for vendors of insecure software. This report identifies key design questions for such regimes and tracks their discussion through the decades-long history of the debate.
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November 2023

This Job Post Will Get You Kidnapped: A Deadly Cycle of Crime, Cyberscams, and Civil War in Myanmar

by Emily Ferguson and Emma Schroeder

In Myanmar, cybercrime has become an effective vehicle through which nonstate actors can fund and perpetuate conflict.
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Telephone with messaging apps. “Protecting point-to-point messaging apps: Understanding Telegram, WeChat, and WhatsApp in the United States” cover image.
August 2023

Protecting point-to-point messaging apps: Understanding Telegram, WeChat, and WhatsApp in the United States

by Iria Puyosa

A year-long project on protecting users’ data and privacy that analyzes the growing use of point-to-point messaging platforms in the United States and the implications their design and governing policies have for user privacy and free speech.
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Democracy Derailed report cover art
August 2023

Sudan’s precarious information environment and the fight for democracy

by Tessa Knight, Lujain Alsedeg

An examination of the time from December 2018, when protests against then-president Omar al-Bashir first broke out, and December 2022, when a framework agreement between civilian and military leaders came into play.
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A World Map Of China 3D Rendering - Chinese Discourse Power Cover graphic
August 2023

Chinese discourse power: Capabilities and impact

by Kenton Thibaut

An examination of China’s online and offline channels for the dissemination of “discourse power” and the mechanisms of oversight on which such communications rely.
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July 2023

Critical Infrastructure and the Cloud: Policy for Emerging Risk

by Tianjiu Zuo, Justin Sherman, Maia Hamin, and Stewart Scott

Critical infrastructure increasingly depends upon cloud computing. Policy must adapt its approach to risk management accordingly.
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Russian soldier and helicopter

Russian War Report

As Russia’s aggression in Europe heats up, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) is keeping a close eye on Moscow’s movements across the military, cyber, and information domains.

Foreign Interference Attribution Tracker

The DFRLab’s Foreign Interference Attribution Tracker (FIAT) is an interactive, open-source database that captures allegations of foreign interference relevant to the 2020 election. This tool assesses the credibility, bias, evidence, transparency, and impact of each claim.

Election Official Handbook: Preparing for Election Day Misinformation

As part of the Election Integrity Partnership, the DFRLab has analyzed roughly four hundred cases of election-related dis- and misinformation on social media. This memo gathers the findings and issues recommendations for US election officials: they must prepare for viral falsehoods online that persist for weeks.

Dichotomies of Disinformation

Via the DFRLab’s Github: This project isolates “political disinformation campaigns.” Dichotomies of Disinformation proposes and tests a classification system built on 150 variable options. Our intent is to establish a replicable, extensible system by which widely disparate disinformation campaigns can be categorized and compared.

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