COSMOS research about the evolution of botnets is featured in a seven book set titled “Large Scale Combat Operations” published by the Army University Press. In chapter 10 of the book “Perceptions Are Reality: Historical Case Studies of Information Operations in Large-Scale Combat Operations”, authors Rick Galeano, Katrin Galeano, Dr. Samer Al-khateeb, Dr. Nitin Agarwal, and James Turner examine social media botnets and their evolving behaviors. Through detailed analysis of botnet use in Ukraine and the Baltics, they demonstrate that bots can be used to spread narratives, alter perceptions of viewpoint popularity, and ultimately trigger behavior supportive to military end states.
“Over the past few years, we have witnessed how the limits of conventional warfare can easily be overcome in the information environment,” noted UA Little Rock Ph.D. student Katrin Galeano, a social media practitioner and researcher. “Providing us with a venue that allows us to reach key military decision makers affords COSMOS researchers the opportunity to distinguish us as one of the premier scientists in this realm.”
The book set project was spearheaded by the Combined Arms Center (CAC) Commander and officially released during the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference.
“Contributing to cutting edge academic research in support of the U.S. Army demonstrates how adept we are in this field of study,” remarked Ph.D. fellow Rick Galeano, “Not only are we able to envision future information conflicts through learned behaviors that we see but we are able to endow a knowledgeable foundation for future research in this medium.”
Dr. Samer Al-khateeb, Assistant Professor at the Department of Journalism, Media, and Computing at Creighton University, added “We are honored to have our work published by such a prestigious venue, in which practical case studies are highlighted.”
With over 31,000 people in attendance at the AUSA conference held in Washington D.C. this past October, COSMOS researchers were proud contributors of their cyberspace operations case study research that focused on botnets in the information environment. The AUSA conference is a premier event that educates members, the public, industry, and Congress about the critical nature of land warfare and the Army’s central role in national defense.
“We observed an increasing usage of social artificial agents (i.e., social bots) during many information warfare and influence operations as these bots are cheap to make and can have a huge effect,” explained Al-khateeb, “The tasks, size, and techniques these bots use are getting more advanced hence continuous research in this realm is needed to combat their widespread.”
The authors are currently finalizing a book chapter titled, “Studying the Weaponization of Social Media: Case Studies of Anti-NATO Disinformation Campaigns” which will be published later this year.