Paul's Blog


ARCOG’s Initial Operation Capability (IOC) Ceremony

arcog_paul de souza

Honored to have attended ARCOG’s Initial Operation Capability (IOC) Ceremony in recognition of CPT 182 at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland.

The ceremony is the start of an ARCOG tradition to recognize the cyber protection team’s achievement of completing a milestone capability requirement.
#ReadyLightning #GuardiansoftheNet #ARCOGNCR ARCOGRecognition
#ARCOGExcellence #AttackDefendExploit

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Words of Wisdom

Christine de Souza, Cyber Warfare Operations Officer (USAF), CSFI Director, Cyberspace Operations Strategist for SoSi LLC.

In any relationship or opportunity that you pursue, instead of looking for how a company, an organization, or an individual can benefit you in some way, ask what you can do for them. Offer yourself, your talents, and your time. Of course, the scenario should be a win-win, but how you present yourself is how you can get your foot in the door. When you are seen as a giver and not only a taker, you become a valuable asset. When you ask how you can help, and when you show that you care, then you begin to be invited more and included in further opportunities.

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6 Significant Scientific Discoveries about Fake News

Anthony de Souza, CSFI Executive Assitant

The presentations at the 2018 American Psychological Association convention describe how some people’s acceptance of fake news as factual, despite the mountain of evidence disproving them, is due to their hardwired belief systems and thought processes nurtured early in life. The good news is that there is a way to reduce this susceptibility for some people, according to experts. Confirmation bias, or the tendency to look for and believe only the information that supports one’s existing beliefs, can be effectively fought off by training kids to be more questioning and skeptical, using humor like political satire as a coping strategy, and opening one’s self to exposure to different viewpoints. Cultivating critical thinking, of course, is heavily emphasized. Learning about the nature of fake news and how it propagates also helps. Here are six research findings on fake news that might interest you.

Twitter Spreads Fake News Fast, and People, Not Bots, Spread Them

Compared to real news, fake news spreads like wildfire on Twitter. The ones responsible for their rapid spread are not bots but real people retweeting misinformation and false news items, which are 70 percent more likely to get a retweet than real news and true stories. Thus, one must always, always think before retweeting something.

Companies That Use Fake News to Hurt Their Competitors End up Hurting Themselves

In 2012, a South Korean bakery created false news about their highly popular rival. There was supposedly a dead rat in a bread loaf made by their rival. Initially, the fake news in the form of a viral doctored photo resulted in sales decline to the rival. But when a reporter uncovered the ruse, the offending baker ended up serving a prison sentence. And because he was a franchisee, the resulting reputational damage to the franchised brand was enormous. Researchers from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business uncovered reputational damage that spanned more than two years for the franchised brand. Indeed, marketing that resorts to smear tactics does not pay.

Most People Cannot Detect Doctored Images 

Researchers from the University of Warwick uncovered something revealing about human perception in the face of visual trickery. A real-world scene with something doctored in it is only detectable to people 60 percent of the time. And even when fakery is discernible on an image of a real-world scene, articulating exactly what is wrong with it only happens 45 percent of the time. So, it is looking like deceit can easily go unnoticed in doctored photos.

Identity Drives Acceptance of Fake News from a Political Party

A paper by New York University psychologists demonstrates how a person’s strongly held belief about the importance of his identity can drive him to turn his back on accuracy, and thereby embracing fake news from a political party with which his identity is aligned. To counter this tendency among certain people, the psychologists recommend affirming first the identity before offering accurate information that is likely contradictory to the identity-affirming political belief.

Lack of News Media Literacy Encourages Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Ignorance of how reporting in news media works is one of the main reasons people believe in conspiracy theories. A significant study found that the more educated individuals were about how the media works, the less likely they were to believe in conspiracy theories reported in the news from either side of the political spectrum. A major observation is that it is much easier to educate individuals about the workings of news media than it is to try to change their beliefs. Educators can help by introducing in schools news media literacy, including the commercial context that shapes news items. Journalists, too, can opt for transparency in their reporting.

How to Effectively Fight Fake News

Researchers from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania performed an extensive meta-analysis of available studies on fake news and debunking misinformation. Here are their key recommendations:

•   Condense the length of arguments supporting misinformation by not repeating their version of the accounts while you are offering a factual correction.

•   Engage and involve the audience during scrutiny; acknowledge all of their counterarguments to the piece of fake news at hand.

•   When debunking misinformation, try to introduce new facts, and avoid simply saying that the given false information is wrong. Adding proof makes counterarguments convincing.

•   Support and help the development of websites like,, and other fake-news-busting alert systems on the Internet.


Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, Sinan Aral. “The spread of true and false news online.” Science, 2018.

Reo Song, Ho Kim, Gene Moo Lee, Sungha Jang. “Does Deceptive Marketing Pay? The Evolution of Consumer Sentiment Surrounding a Pseudo-Product-Harm Crisis.” Journal of Business Ethics, 2017.

Sophie J. Nightingale, Kimberley A. Wade, Derrick G. Watson. “Can people identify original and manipulated photos of real-world scenes?” Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 2017.

Jay J. Van Bavel, Andrea Pereira. “The Partisan Brain: An Identity-Based Model of Political Belief.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2018.

Stephanie Craft, Seth Ashley, Adam Maksl. “News media literacy and conspiracy theory endorsement.” Communication and the Public, 2017.

Man-pui Sally Chan, Christopher R. Jones, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Dolores Albarracín. “Debunking: A Meta-Analysis of the Psychological Efficacy of Messages Countering Misinformation.” Psychological Science, 2017.

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IWP Christmas Party 2018

Students, alumni, faculty, and supporters of The Institute of World Politics gathered to celebrate the Christmas season on December 14.

Paul de Souza_Christine_de_Souza_Joe_Billingsley_Christine_PiryJoe Billingsley, Christine Piry, Christine de Souza, and Paul de Souza.







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CSFI Officer Mock Board – Dec 2018

Pete Schiefelbein_.Greg_Roberts_Greg Breazile_CR2USMC LtCol. (Ret.) Pete Schiefelbein, Gregory Roberts, and USMC Col (ret) Greg Breazile

In support of our mission, CSFI facilitated a Mock Officer Selection Board this Saturday in support of Gregory Roberts who’s applying to the Navy Reserve Special Duty Intelligence (1835) Direct Commissioning Officer within the Information Warfare Corps. This is an ongoing non-profit effort with the intent of preparing candidates who will be facing a military board to not only succeed but to excel.

CSFI would like to thank our Mock Officer Selection Board team for their recent participation: Paul de Souza CSFI Founder, USMC LtCol. (Ret.) Pete Schiefelbein (CSFI Advisory Director), and USMC Col (ret) Greg Breazile (Former Director, Information Warfare Integration Division (IWID) – CSFI Advisory Director).

Special thanks to Anthony de Souza (Multimedia support).

Learn more about the program here: CSFI Officer Mock Board:

CSFI_Officer_Mock_Board_Paul de Souza
Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder (center)

Gregory Roberts who’s applying to the Navy Reserve Special Duty Intelligence (1835) Direct Commissioning Officer within the Information Warfare Corps.

Greg Breazile_CSFI
USMC LtCol. (Ret.) Pete Schiefelbein (CSFI Advisory Director), and USMC Col (ret) Greg Breazile (Former Director, Information Warfare Integration Division (IWID) – CSFI Advisory Director).

LT Natalie Schibell
Special thanks to LT Natalie Schibell, MSC, USN (CSFI Fellow – CSFI Officer Mock Board)


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Good Brainstorming​!

Paul de Souza_Mark_Kelton_CIA

Always a pleasure to brainstorm with Mark Kelton, Former CIA Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Counterintelligence, Senior Vice President, National Security Solutions at DynCorp International, Chairman at TRUSTICA, Inc., and a Cyber Security Forum Initiative (CSFI) Advisory Director.

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US – Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, the College of Information and Cyberspace at the National Defense University hosted the US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion in Roosevelt Hall at Fort McNair in Washington, DC.

The National Cyber and Information Security Agency from the Czech Republic and the Cyber Security Forum Initiative (CSFI) participated in a roundtable discussion with the intent to foster better information sharing between the Czech Republic and the United States of America. Daniel Peder Bagge, Cyber Attaché to the United States and Canada from the Czech Republic, and Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder, led this effort.

Special thanks to the College of Information and Cyberspace at the National Defense University for hosting this unique roundtable.
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Group Picture (Panelists and Participants)
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Paul de Souza, CSFI-CWD (Cyber Warfare Division) Founder Director (on the left side)
Military Cyber Professionals Association (MCPA) Advisor
Adjunct Faculty, George Washington University
Board of Advisors at The Cyber Intelligence Initiative (CII) at The Institute of World Politics
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Daniel Peder Bagge (in the center)
Cyber Attaché to the United States and Canada, National Cyber and Information Security Agency
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable DiscussionJoe Billingsley (Host)

Director of Strategic Engagement, College of Information and Cyberspace, National Defense University
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion
Harry Wingo (MODERATOR)
Faculty Member at College of Information and Cyberspace, National Defense University
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

George Franz
Major General (ret.), US Army
Military Cyber Professionals Association (MCPA) Advisor and Fort Meade Chapter President
Accenture Federal Services
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Roman Packa (on the left side)
Head of National Strategy and Policy Unit at National Cyber and Information Security Agency
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Dr. Gwyneth Sutherlin (in the center)
National Defense University Assistant Professor
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Sean Kanuck
Director of Cyber, Space and Future Conflict. United States’ first National Intelligence Officer for Cyber Issues at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

Tomas Minarik (on the right side)
A researcher at NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion
US-Czech Cyber Information Sharing Roundtable Discussion

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Thank you, ​Erin Margolis!

Erin Margolis_CSFI

Erin Margolis representing CSFI at the Homeland Security and Cyber Conference in Israel.

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If someone asked about the world’s oldest Information Warfare and Cyber Conflict conference you might know it as InfoWarCon. Since 1994, IWC has always prided itself on controversial, opinionated and unpopular content-focused discussions (and avoiding the typical vendor or 0-Day topics so typical in too many conferences). This year IWC returned to the DC area where it ran from November 1-3rd. Topic included human trials of nanorobotics, an international panel on cyber ethics moderated by an original member of CYBERCOM, and countering drone Russian Information Warfare.

Pre-conference training included drone operations and building a counter-drone turret. IWC ensured students and conference attendees had the opportunity to interact with the speakers and discuss what comes next.

“IWC provided an environment where I, as a presenter felt compelled to give as much information to the attendees as they could handle. After the talk, the discussion was productive, interactive and humorous, you just do not get that anywhere.”- Dr. Gregory Carpenter after presenting on nanorobotics used to control human muscle movement

Roberta (Bobbie) G. Stempfley, Nick Andersen, Gentry Lane, Marc Jamison, Patrick Neal. INTERNATIONAL PANEL ON CYBER SECURITY AND INFORMATION WARFARE

Paul de Souza_Travis Hartman_INFOWARCON18
Travis Hartman President, IWC Labs, LLC, and Paul de Souza, INFOWARCON Advisory Board

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Career Thoughts

I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to manage and run one of the biggest and most active forums on the Internet dealing with cyber warfare and cyber security – CSFI (The Cyber Security Forum Initiative). With over 16 years of cyber security experience, I continue to actively raise Cyber Warfare/Cyber Security awareness worldwide. I have worked as a Chief Security Engineer for AT&T, where I designed and approved secure networks for MSS. I have also consulted for several governments, military and private institutions on best network security practices throughout my career.

CSFI and its divisions CSFI-CWD (Cyber Warfare Division), CSFI-LPD (Law and Policy Division) and CSFI-WD (Wireless Division) continue to grow and expand with more than 60,000 information security members.

One of my personal goals is to serve our security community to the best of my abilities, in the protection and defense of our American national security interests, the American people, and that of our international partners. I am always ready to serve and to give of my time and skills to help our society with the growing problems we experience in cyberspace. I thank God and my family for the opportunities I have had in life and the most precious of all opportunities, which is the chance to serve others. I love what I do, and I appreciate all the support I have received from friends, family and our CSFI members.


Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder Director