The ASPI claim, contained in a paper issued on Wednesday night, and coming six days before the US presidential election, said four countries — Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — were the most prolific when it came to indulging in these activities.
Coincidentally, these are the same four countries which have been mentioned frequently by the US when it comes to claims about interference in the 2020 poll.
The research was funded by a grant of US$100,000 (A$141,841.6) from Twitter provided to the organisation's International Cyber Policy Centre in 2019.
ASPI has numerous other sponsors for its cyber policy centre: auDA, the Australian Government department Services Australia, the Australian Signals Directorate, AWS, Facebook, AddAxis, Cisco, CyberCX, Cyber Security Co-operative Research Centre, Fortinet, Google,Jacobs, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Property Council of Australia, Splunk, Thales, and UpGuard.
There was no mention in the report, authored by Sarah O’Connor, Fergus Hanson, Emilia Currey and Tracy Beattie, of interference in foreign elections by the US, though it is well-known that Washington has been a consistent presence when it comes to interfering in polls across the world.
"This research identified 28 elections and six referendums over the past decade in which online information operations were used for interference purposes," the study claimed.
It said there was "increasing cohesion among foreign state actors, notably China and Iran learning and adopting various techniques from Russia, has made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the different foreign state actors.
"This has been further complicated by the adoption of Russian tactics and techniques by domestic groups, in particular groups aligned with the far-right for example."