Deceive and Disrupt: Disinformation as an Emerging Cybersecurity Challenge

Arthur de Liedekerke, Michael Zinkanell: Deceive and Disrupt: Disinformation as an Emerging Cybersecurity Challenge, AIES Studies Nr. 13, June 2020

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25.06.2020


Today's technological connectivity has opened up both extraordinary opportunities and unprecedented risks. Recent events have served as an acute reminder that digital disinformation has evolved from being a marginal nuisance to a potent tool to target people, organisations, or entire societies. Worryingly, disinformation campaigns appear to be the latest weapon in the arsenal of hostile actors carrying out cyberattacks.

Demonstrating the growing overlap between disinformation and cybersecurity is the central focus of this study. The authors notably call on the cybersecurity community to recognise disinformation as an emerging challenge and to offer solutions to address it.

This analysis, which is based on comprehensive secondary source research and first-hand expert interviews, starts by presenting an overview of the typology and nature of disinformation, followed with a novel tactical approach to online influence operations. At this stage, contextual depth is provided with relevant examples of disinformation, comparing malicious campaigns and narratives of several state actors. Lastly, the authors provide a future outlook and concrete recommendations, arguing that it is vital to implement integrated political approaches that treat the nexus of disinformation and cybersecurity holistically.