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Ben Dubow on Detecting and Countering Malign Influence Operations

Ben Dubow is CTO and founder of Omelas, a firm that provides data and analysis on how nations manipulate the web to achieve their geopolitical goals. He has a background in research on Russian and Chinese online information operations and is a recognized expert, having appeared on international media including Reuters, Bloomberg and Roll Call. Ben began his career tracking jihadi, white supremacist, and Iranian activity online before joining Google where he played a lead role in removing ISIS content from YouTube and establishing the Redirect Method to counter violent extremism. Before Omelas, Ben was Secretary of Code To Inspire, a nonprofit that teaches Afghan women to code. Ben speaks Arabic, French, Farsi, and basic Russian.

In this OODAcast we discuss Ben’s continuous drive to work in meaningful ways by contributing technical and cultural expertise to emerging challenges. Other topics include:

  • The foundational story of Omelas and the needs for technology to help spot malicious influence operations via tracking open source information.  
  • How to focus on missions by understanding what decision-makers need
  • How authoritarian states manipulate open source data
  • Why propaganda is effective and how the right information can help counter it
  • How technology can improve scale of analysis
  • The Omelas Wolf Totem dashboard and what it presents
  • The metrics that can be applied to malign influence operations
  • How to reduce the risk of our own analysts being biased in research

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Book recommendations:

The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and the Age of Fake News


Matt Devost

Matt Devost

Matthew G. Devost is the CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC. Matt is a technologist, entrepreneur, and international security expert specializing in counterterrorism, critical infrastructure protection, intelligence, risk management and cyber-security issues. Matt co-founded the cyber security consultancy FusionX from 2010-2017. Matt was President & CEO of the Terrorism Research Center/Total Intel from 1996-2009. For a full bio, please see