The Malign Influence Playbook
Whether threat actors or influence operators are organizing a targeted or broadscale malign influence activity, both follow a similar operational workflow or “kill chain,” as described below:
The malign influence or disinformation kill chain was devised by the MITRE Corporation in support of efforts by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence and US Homeland Security to develop a whole-of-society approach to combatting targeted disinformation campaigns.
Therefore, in devising a plan to detect and counter malign influence, it’s necessary to develop monitoring and collection strategies, control mechanisms and counter narratives. In addition, opportunities for placement of genuine and authentic voices must be identified at each stage of the kill chain, in order to diminish the desired effects of the adversary.
Social media technology tends to empower propaganda and disinformation in really new waysSamantha Bradshaw, Researcher, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University
Malign influence operations are often leveraged to produce a “force multiplier” effect by correctly timing the deployment of malign narratives in support of other attack vectors being pursued by the adversary. Such an approach can yield a far greater business impact than any single vector of attack could produce on its own. An example of this would be a disinformation campaign designed to place downward pressure on the stock price of a company that’s also a hostile takeover target.