The Information Warfare Monitor is an advanced research activity tracking the emergence of cyberspace as a strategic domain. We are an independent research effort. Our mission is to build and broaden the evidence base available to scholars, policy makers, and others. We aim to educate and inform.
The Information Warfare Monitor is public-private venture between two Canadian institutions: the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and The SecDev Group, an operational think tank based in a Ottawa (Canada). The Secdev Group conducts field-based investigations and data gathering. Our advanced research and analysis facilities are located at the Citizen Lab.
The IWM was established in 2002 by Ronald Deibert (Citizen Lab) and Rafal Rohozinski (The Secdev Group, previously director, Advanced Network Research Group, University of Cambridge). The current directors of the IWM are Ronald Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski.
The research of the Information Warfare Monitor is supported by the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies (University of Toronto), a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The IWM benefits from donations from a variety of sponsors including Psiphon Inc, and Palantir Technologies. Psiphon Inc is a censorship circumvention and managed content delivery solutions. It was developed at the Citizen Lab and spun out of the University of Toronto as a private company in 2009. Psiphon Inc. made a sizeable donation of computer, networking, and software tools to the Citizen Lab and provides personnel and resources on an ongoing basis as part of a strategic partnership with the Citizen Lab, which are tasked to the IWM project.
Palantir Technologies is an information visualization and analysis tools, used by the U.S. and Canadian defense and intelligence community, but which operates around ethical principles concerning privacy and human rights. Palantir Technologies made a sizeable software donation of its analytical platform to the Citizen Lab, which is used in IWM research.
The Information Warfare Monitor engages in three primary activities:
1. Case Studies
We employ a rigorous and multidisciplinary approach to all our case studies blending qualitative, technical, and quantitative methods. As a general rule, our investigations consist of at least two components:
* Field-based investigations.
We engage in qualitative research among affected target audiences and employ techniques that include interviews, long-term in situ interaction with our partners, and extensive technical data collection involving system monitoring, network reconnaissance, and interrogation. Our field-based teams are supported by senior analysts and regional specialists, including social scientists, computer security professionals, policy experts, and linguists, who provide additional contextual support and substantive back-up.
* Technical investigation and laboratory analysis
Data collected in the field is rigorously analysed using a variety of advanced data fusion and visualization methods. Leads developed on the basis of infield activities are pursued through computer network investigations and the resulting data and analysis is shared with our infield teams and partners for verification and for generating additional entry points for follow-on investigations.
2. Open Source Trend Analysis
We collect open-source information from the press and other sources tracking global trends in cyberspace. These are published on our public website.
3. Analytical Workshops and Outreach
We work closely with academia, human rights organizations, and the defense and intelligence community. We publish reports, and occasionally conduct joint workshops. Our work is independent, and not subject to government classification, Our goal is to encourage vigorous debate around critical policy issues. This includes engaging in ethical and legal considerations of information operations, computer network attacks, and computer network exploitation, including the targeted use of Trojans and malware, denial of service attacks, and content filtering.
About the Citizen Lab
The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media and world politics. We are a hothouse the combines the disciplines of political science, sociology, computer science, engineering, and graphic design. Our mission is to undertake advanced research and engage in development that monitors, analyses, and impacts the exercise of political power in cyberspace. The Citizen Lab’s ongoing research network includes the Information Warfare Monitor and the OpenNet Initiative, ONI Asia, and benefits from collaborative partnerships with academic institutions, NGOs, and other partners in all regions of the world.
About the Secdev Group
The SecDev Group is a Canadian-based operational consultancy focused on countries and regions at risk from violence and insecurity. We deliver to our clients insights and access to a diverse range of cultures, audiences, challenging environments and ungoverned spaces. Our approach combines a field research capability with advanced techniques and methods for generating policy-relevant analysis and solutions. As a think tank, we identify and communicate realistic options to enhance effectiveness through evidence-based research on the causes, consequences and trajectories of insecurity and violence. We are operational because we design and conduct activities in complex and insecure environments.