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How to manage the digital frontier? - Digital Threat Digest

PGI’s Digital Investigations Team brings you the Digital Threat Digest, SOCMINT and OSINT insights into disinformation, influence operations, and online harms.

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These days, there seems to be a variety of digital technologies on the horizon that are poised to disrupt the way we live our everyday lives. On the software side of things, AI and its associated offshoots are promising to revolutionise the way we function on computers. On the hardware side, the greatly hyped quantum computer and its lesser-known counterpart photonic computer, bring promises of near limitless power that would dwarf anything we’ve built today.

So, how are we meant to manage this digital frontier? Of course, while the real revolutionary claims are not likely to fully pan out any time soon, these technologies do represent an interesting problem. Because, ultimately, computers are indeed getting better, threat actors are getting more clever, and technology is enabling the faster and wider spread of problematic content.

While we can’t know exactly what shape future threats will take, what we can do is prepare for them now. The first step is to understand the current nature of digital threats. This goes back to PGI’s methodology of content, behaviour, and infrastructure: understanding what is being said, how, and through what means. This means capturing not just problematic content or actors but understanding them. Why is this person saying the things that they are? How are they connected to broader trends around certain narratives?

The second step is applying that knowledge to cast an eye towards the future. If we understand present content, behaviour, and infrastructure, future threats will almost always logically flow from the present. Content is always refined over time, threat behaviours change depending on what works and what doesn’t, coordination relies on sites that rise and fall out of fashion.

Managing the digital frontier doesn’t have to seem like a scary or impossible task. Because ultimately there are human-made patterns hidden within these threats that make the task much more manageable. Even major technological disruptors won’t upend this process because the same core principles apply no matter what technology is being used. Behind the shiny new computer or controlling the AI inputs is a human, and that’s not set to change any time soon.

More about Protection Group International's Digital Investigations

Our Digital Investigations Analysts combine modern exploitative technology with deep human analytical expertise that covers the social media platforms themselves and the behaviours and the intents of those who use them. Our experienced analyst team have a deep understanding of how various threat groups use social media and follow a three-pronged approach focused on content, behaviour and infrastructure to assess and substantiate threat landscapes.

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