The Bottom Line Up Front

C4ADS is enhancing global security through innovative data science, software development, large-scale partnership building, and most importantly, empowering our analysts every step of the way.

Empowering the Next Generation of Global Security Analysts #

In the digital age, the most crucial tool to fight modern security threats is not some newfangled cyber warfare defense system or a fancy program, it’s people — really smart ones who have the passion and the power to make things happen. That’s why, at C4ADS, our first priority is to develop promising analysts into future global security leaders.

What makes C4ADS analysts unique is that they are not just researchers – they are creative problem solvers who come to us from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Our role as an organization is to unchain them from traditional bureaucracy and constraints, equip them with an awesome arsenal of emerging technology and data solutions, and then set them free on the world’s most pressing challenges.

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Leveraging Publicly Available Information #

The rapid pace of technology development and globalization has created a tsunami of data in which rapidly emerging security threats hide. This wealth of Publicly Available Information (or PAI) can reveal a significant picture of the illicit networks behind these threats — but only if you know where to look. Analytic apparatuses across government, industry, academia, and the media struggle to find the right data, much less sort, understand, and react to it.

Enter: C4ADS. With our founding principles of agility and adaptability, we are constantly innovating new ways to wield the power of PAI for good. Whether it’s getting our hands on hard-to-find trade data or traveling far and wide to digitize reams of corporate record files, we identify, process, and integrate thousands of mission-critical data sources. Our goal? To inject real-world context to any and every problem set, and to provide a data-backed edge to all of our investigations.

Building our Cutting-Edge Technology Capabilities #

Our lineup of technology solutions is the turbocharged engine behind our analysis. From collection to visualization, we incorporate only the best software tools into every step of our process. Beyond our suite of partnerships with leading technology innovators, when a tool we need doesn’t yet exist, our in-house software development team builds it.

Our Internal Software Engineering #


Icarus Flights: A unique flight intelligence platform based on the world’s largest source of uncensored flight data, Icarus Flights is bringing unprecedented transparency to the air domain. It goes beyond simple flight trackers; Icarus was designed with investigators in mind. Its complex queries and alerts features ensure users maintain persistent global awareness of flights, fleets, airports, and airspace.

Sanctions Explorer: Sanctions Explorer is an easy-to-use, integrated database of sanctions from across multiple listing authorities updated in real-time, and equipped with a suite of analytical and visualization functionalities. Understanding the different needs of compliance professionals, policymakers, sanctions lawyers, academics, and journalists, Sanctions Explorer provides both up to date sanctions information and, crucially, a long-term view of global sanctions trends.

The Wildlife Seizure Dashboard: The C4ADS Wildlife Seizure Dashboard is an interactive tool for advanced wildlife seizure data analysis. Designed to put data-driven analysis of global wildlife seizures directly into stakeholder hands, the C4ADS Wildlife Seizure Dashboard serves as a free resource for increasing understanding about the shifting dynamics of the illicit wildlife trade.

Our Tech Partners #

Palantir – C4ADS leverages Palantir technologies to integrate, manage, and utilize its data at scale. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) – As an AWS non-profit partner, C4ADS uses AWS cloud services to power its in-house technology tools. 

Windward – Windward’s Maritime Domain Awareness System helps us track vessels and identify illicit activities at sea by fusing AI and big data.

Planet – Planet’s satellite imagery provides our analysts an unobstructed view into any corner of the world, embedding physical evidence into our analysis, especially in areas with minimal data coverage. 

Spire – C4ADS uses Spire’s unique satellite data to build a real-time picture of the maritime and aviation domains.

Fivecast – C4ADS uses Fivecast’s social media analytics platform to map out the digital trail of our investigations. 

ADS-B Exchange – ADS-B Exchange, the world’s largest co-op for uncensored flight data, partners with C4ADS to power our flight intelligence platform, Icarus Flights.

Unfolded – C4ADS uses Unfolded, a geospatial analytics platform for data unification, enrichment, and visualization, to visualize and analyze our geospatial data 

Bright Data – Bright Data partners with C4ADS through the Bright Initiative, a pro-bono service in which Bright Data provides proxy services, data, and expertise to help power C4ADS’ data collection and data access.

DomainTools – DomainTools is partnered with C4ADS to provide domain and DNS investigation tools.

Empowering a Global Partner Network #

Illicit networks function by exploiting legal systems, hiding in plain sight within the noise of our globalized economies. To disrupt an illicit network, you have to first target the resources, personnel, and logistics systems that are sustaining them.

We share actionable insights with organizations at the frontlines of fighting global threats to help to reduce illicit system energy. The sanctions, arrests, seizures, bank account freezes, and other enforcement actions spurred by our support diminish the ability of threat networks to bounce back.

C4ADS also works with the private-sector and civil society watchdogs to close the vulnerabilities of logistics, communications, and financial sectors, effectively hardening them against exploitation. Simply put, we make it harder and more expensive for illicit actors to operate.

Over time, we perfected these methods to weaken illicit networks and protect our global systems. But we know from experience that as long as the underlying drivers of conflict and crime remain intact, threats will continue to evolve and regenerate.

To truly defeat illicit networks, we must change the environment in which they operate. By providing evidence-based analysis to legislative, policy, and regulatory stakeholders and supporting investigative journalism, we are working to reshape the operating environment of illicit networks. We address pervasive policy gaps, build global coalitions, and grow public awareness to create systemic change. In doing so, we undermine the motivating forces behind illicit networks and prevent future threats before they begin.

Who We Work With

  • Finance & Insurance
  • Private Sector Goods & Services
  • Internal / Multilateral Organizations
  • Global Media
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Government