On 12 February 2024, the ATHENA project convened a face-to-face meeting in Brussels to address the pressing issue of foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI).

Launched in November 2023, ATHENA is a €3 million, three-year initiative representing the European Union’s strategic response to the escalating threat posed by FIMI.

In light of recent events, including the surge in cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns originating from actors such as Russia and China, the importance of ATHENA cannot be overstated. The project’s primary objective is to meticulously examine at least 30 instances of FIMI, analysing the tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by perpetrators. By gaining a deep understanding of these methods, ATHENA aims to assess the societal impact of FIMI and develop novel and robust countermeasures.

In this meeting, we discussed various key components of the ATHENA project, including:

  • Exploring manifestations of FIMI
  • Reverse engineering FIMI tactics, techniques, and procedures
  • Compiling a taxonomy of FIMI countermeasure techniques
  • Sourcing and collecting FIMI data
  • Co-designing and evaluating ATHENA’s FIMI Toolbox and, Dashboard
  • Improving legal and regulatory frameworks against FIMI
  • Collaborating with sister projects (SAUFEX and ADAC.io)

Funded by the European Union (grant number 101132686). UK participants in Horizon Europe Project ATHENA are supported by UKRI grant number 10107667 (Trilateral Research). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Executive Agency (REA) or UKRI. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority