Lecture by CENS Visiting Fellow on “Total Defence and Hostile Influence Operations” by Lior Tabansky
Total Defence and Hostile Influence Operations
What if an adversary launches a covert influence campaign to harm a country’s core interests? The threat is real, but there is a lack of understanding of the problem.
To illustrate this, the presentation will use a fictional Hostile Influence Operation (HIO) conducted through cyber means where different ethnic groups are pitted against each other. Such a scenario will leverage the characteristics of the infosphere, in particular: (1) using social media to collect intelligence and micro target audiences, and (2) using encrypted platforms (e.g. Whatsapp) for messaging.
The recommendations are derived from the speaker’s analysis of the global operational environment and general conceptual shortcomings to counter HIOs. These are to:
- Adopt an intelligence-driven counter-influence strategy;
- Develop and use measures of effectiveness;
- Boost cyber situational awareness.
Research Institutes should fuse diverse scientific disciplines towards better understanding of, and developing countermeasures to, the emerging threat.
About the Speaker
|Lior Tabansky is Head of Research Development at the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, Tel Aviv University (ICRC TAU).
His doctoral dissertation “Explaining National Cyber Insecurity: A New Strategic Defense Adaptation Analytical Framework” (Tel Aviv University, School of Government and Politics, 2017) explains why even the most developed nations remain so exposed to destructive cyberattacks on strategic homeland targets by foreign states. The dissertation includes a comparative analysis of critical infrastructure protection and national cyber strategy of Singapore, Israel and the United States.
“Cybersecurity in Israel,” Mr Tabansky’s 2015 book co-authored with Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, is the first comprehensive “insider” account of decades of Israeli policy and operations. The authors develop an original analysis of the roles grand strategy and innovation play in cybersecurity.
Lior Tabansky conducts two research projects on cyber power in Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center:
1. National Innovation Systems and cybersecurity capacity building
2. Hostile Influence Operations via Social Media: Assessing the recent Western experience with pro-Russian influence.