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Luther and Hicks receive funding from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative

August 19, 2021

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) has funded a project led by CHCI members Kurt Luther (Computer Science), and David Hicks (School of Education), (together with Aaron Brantley of Political Science), as one of  seven transdisciplinary projects. The funding will support an investigation of the role of cybersecurity in curbing the spread of disinformation and misinformation. It will examine the impact of human-AI collaboration on open source intelligence (OSINT) investigations of social media disinformation. 

Kurt Luther
Kurt Luther
David Hicks
David Hicks

Project description: Open Source Intelligence investigation — the collection and analysis of publicly available information sources, such as social media, for investigative purposes — is a powerful method for combating disinformation and misinformation. However, this investigation technique is typically a manual, time-consuming process, overwhelming investigators with a fire hose of online disinformation. Crowdsourcing, with its ability to massively parallelize data analysis and provide access to highly specialized knowledge, has the potential to assist the disinformation investigation. Researchers will build a pipeline where an expert investigator leverages AI-assisted tools to narrow the search, enlists crowdsourcing to refine the shortlist, and reviews and confirms the results. Inspired by the model of volunteer fire departments, the researchers will organize and evaluate a series of collaborative capture-the-flag events where teams build and deploy new AI-assisted tools to discover and analyze disinformation campaigns. The goal is to provide scalable support for local, state, and federal authorities in fighting disinformation and misinformation.

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) seeks to elevate state-wide innovation and excellence in cyberphysical systems with an emphasis on trust and security. CCI serves as an engine for research, innovation, talent development, and commercialization of technologies at the intersection of security, autonomy, and data in Virginia.

More about CCI funded projects at Virginia Tech