Research Fellows

Jesse Sowell - Texas A&M

Dr. Jesse Sowell is an assistant professor in the International Affairs department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.  Dr. Sowell is also a Faculty Fellow in Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center and the Mays Innovation Research Center.  Dr. Sowell holds a Ph.D. in Technology, Management, and Policy from the Engineering Systems Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Additionally, Dr. Sowell holds master’s degrees in technology and policy from MIT, criminal justice and computer science from Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Clemson University.

Dr. Sowell focuses on understanding the transnational, non-state institutions and governance mechanisms shaping the management  of resources critical to Internet operations vis a vis conventional domestic and inter-state governance mechanisms.  This includes studies on infrastructure resource  policy, on-the-ground cybersecurity, and operational epistemic communities’ role informing public policy.  His research and teaching interests include planned adaptation and credible knowledge assessment; risk and uncertainty; commons-based rights, resource management, and theory; private regimes and regulation; security indicators and metrics; and the use of mixed methods for developing security metrics.

In terms of industry engagement, Dr. Sowell is a research fellow with the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), advising on data policy, governance, and credible knowledge assessment, most recently contributing to understanding the impact of the EU’s General Data Protection Directive (GDPR) on cybersecurity operations at the APWG.EU’s Symposium on Policy Impediments to eCrime Data Exchange.  Dr. Sowell is also a Senior Advisor at the Messaging, Malware, and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG), directing M3AAWG’s outreach efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, and Africa.  He is also the co-chair of the Internet of Things (IoT) Special Interest Group.

Before arriving at the Bush School, Dr. Sowell was a Cybersecurity Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.  During his dissertation work at MIT, Dr. Sowell was a research assistant in the Advanced Network Architecture group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).


In 2019, APWG intends to engage in activities to expedite the suppression of cybercrime data logistics and telemetrics, data policy and risk management, and participation in mitigations and interventions on a global scale.

In 2019, and with cooperation and contributions from members, governments, and supporting foundations, APWG and APWG EU will continue or begin to:

  1. Host peer-reviewed conferences (eCrime) and topic-specific research symposia, e.g., privacy rights; data protection policy evolution; and cybersecurity awareness.
  2. Research and develop data exchange policies, conventions and technical standards, including standards to represent risk management aspects of particular concern to industry and law enforcement and multilateral, intergovernmental organizations.
  3. Develop and expand operational infrastructure to maintain additional cybercrime machine event data exchange that are identified through research activities such as:
    1. Mobile application marketplace safety
    2. Security ranking and testing of multi-factor authentication strategies
    3. Data and metrics to measure domain name, autonomous system, and Internet addressing abuse
    4. Developing a standard definition and reporting framework for “fake store” and advanced fee fraud.
    5. Conduct research of human responses to common cybercrimes and development of infrastructure to archive and maintain databases of anonymized depersonalized data from behavioral studies to cultivate behavior-related cybercrime research (i.e. Scaled Behavioral Interventions).

APWG members, directors and contemporaries are particularly eager to expand its applied Research and Development (R&D) activities. The APWG has already delivered a variety of services from earleir R&D initiatives including a redirect system to route users clicking on phishing links to educational pages, an abusive domain reporting scheme to deliver notices to Registrars, and a universal cybersecurity awareness campaign launched in 21 nations. We now have in development a user census program to measure national user cyber resilience to phishing.

We believe the next evolutionary stage for the APWG is to establish an R&D center dedicated to applied research for development of tools, infrastructure, and/or intellectual property for the programmatic suppression and measurement of cybercrime in three topical dimensions:

  1. Applied data logistics and telemetry research will focus on orchestrating scaled event data exchanges to unify responses to cybercrime as well as providing visibility and measurement to core risks and control gaps that protect the industry.
  2. Applied data policy and risk management will support legal and contractual barriers (e.g. developing policies, model contracts, model legislation, codes of conduct, etc.) to provide safe, liability managed data exchanges.
  3. Scaled behavioral interventions research will examine the dimensions and conditions that influence users' ability or behavior when they are reacting to cybercrime.