No rest for the wicked - 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.
Happy Holidays everyone – I’m sure all of us are ready to check out or have already, so you probably won’t read this, but for those still chugging along, this one’s for you.
While we’re all getting ready for some down time – the information environments we work on will continue to operate, churning out new narratives and taking on different dimensions. As a digital investigations analyst, taking time off doesn’t necessarily mean I switch off – we’re so connected to the online world that there’s often little escape and it’s not like we can switch off influence operations in Iran for the holidays. Instead, I spend a few days being anxious about where I left things – will that page still be up? Did I archive that domain? You’re probably thinking, does this person have a life?
But the truth is that with online environments, there’s no pause, no rupture, no end – they’re always changing. There’s something eerie about the fact that no matter what we do, we’ll always miss out on something happening somewhere. But it’s also what makes monitoring these environments so fascinating.
In fact, it’s in this “down time” that threat actors take advantage of online environments, threat actors are opportunistic, but I’ll try to not let that haunt me for the next two weeks.
2023 has been a busy year for analysts like me who are trying to understand how conflicts have impacted the online environment, and importantly how social media is now being used as a tool to influence them. These conflicts will continue into next year – Sudan, Israel-Palestine, Ukraine and unfortunately many others. Their impact on the online environment will remain a problem for 2024 because there is simply no end in sight. 2023 also brought up fears of AI taking over – I’ve counted at least seven digests where we wrote about AI – deepfakes, regulation, translational paradoxes, you name it. AI will continue to be debated and dissected next year, I’m sure.
The new year will come with many challenges and several elections, so we have our work cut out for us. One thing is guaranteed however, our continuous efforts to Detect, Protect, and Build means that we are not only identifying and revealing threats but will be helping industries, governments, and companies to build their digital resilience to them. This means that while we’re all off watching The Holiday for the maybe 20th time, they have the knowledge, understanding, and digital resilience to protect the online environment.
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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Online influence campaigns are becoming increasingly common as political parties and state actors around the world seek to manipulate public opinion.
To most people, online influence operations involve competing ideologies battling it out in the public sphere.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin complained that former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson had been too soft; saying Carlson avoided “sharp questions” during their interview on 06 February.