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Cyber Security of Weaponized Media in a Socially Engineered World

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I.     Introduction

The world is seeing an ongoing multi-faceted cyber attack(s) (social engineering) that uses weaponized fake media, digital false flags and other digitally obfuscated materials. These attacks stem from nation states, paid hacker cartels and mercenary hackers globally. These cyber security attacks utilize social engineering, weaponized media and fake media. We have been studying these socially engineered attacks since 2009, and have created unique responses to them.

II.    Main body

The Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran marked the first known use of weaponized social media. The Government of Iran utilized Twitter to get western citizens to spread their propaganda.

Fast forward to 2016, where USA itself was attacked through long term, dedicated weaponized media cyber assault on our democracy; and government alike by Russia and its agents. This attack continues with multi-faceted usage of fake media, bots, fake social media and malware laden content on these sites.

The final outcome is still under investigation, but it is seen as a major win for Russia intelligence groups, and a major loss for the USA.

In the 2016 attack on the USA, innocent citizens were co-opted to spread weaponized media that had either been previously illegally exfiltrated or was fake to begin with.

Some might say this is a soft attack, not vitally important as a hard cyber attack on a network, grid or infrastructure, that is simply not true.

In fact, these attacks are proving to be just as lethal as more traditional cyber attacks. Socially engineered attacks often mask other types of attacks as well – like DDoS, MiTM and malware/wipeware.

However, socially engineered attacks now account for more than 50% of the beginnings of all cyber security intrusions and breaches.

                                                                              III.   Conclusions/future steps

How does USA protect itself from such asymmetrical attacks in future?

With explosion of IoT Devices has come a parallel explosion of attack surface areas, many of which are simply not protected.

With the explosion of social media platforms and content being shared has come a parallel explosion of attack surface areas, most of which are not secured or protected. But many social media users operate under a belief that they are fine because “the big companies are protecting us.”

This is a false belief, and users, both government and individual need to take drastic steps to protect these accounts and platforms.

Should the USA Government sponsor Human/digital trainings to help protect and defend against socially engineered attacks?

How do regular people tell difference between real media/faked media? How do leaders weed out bots, automated accounts from real?

What steps can USA take today; tomorrow to prevent ongoing and future socially engineered cyber attacks?

 

 

Based on proprietary research at www.digijaks.com and through extensive work with clients who are dealing with and or have dealt with such attacks.

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Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg Interviewed by Associated Press about HBO Hack

 

2 Cyber security expert says HBO hack is huge (2)

See the video below.

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Modern Information Warfare Hits Hard

2016 was just the latest in #cyberwar; and #informationwarfare attacks where even bills were introduced in Congress. It has been ongoing as long as there have been digital mediums and technologies; and information distribution technology. My company saw it happening last year and got more and more concerned as the election grew closer. We literally wrote letters to people in government, people at the DNC and elsewhere, basically yelling as loudly as we could that the #USA was being cyber and information warfare attacked.

 

As a cyber security, and weaponized information expert – it was all too clear what was happening. It has left a feeling of being sick in the stomach for a year now, and this feeling has not abated. Because it has not ended. For millions of Americans and millions of people around the world too.

 

The Unites States is witnessing both the worst and best it can show at once. The worst by all the traitors amongst us: those pretending we were not just victims of a non lethal act of war.

 

The best by all those in and out of government banding together to excise the cancer from the nation; regardless of the risks and dangers.

 

Some cyber and information warfare players have been better than others. Some have taken a longer term perspective than others. Nation states that have invested heavily into cyber technologies and offensive information warfare technologies are multiplying every year.

 

It is not just the domain of: Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, Ukraine, the UK, France, USA and other large or technologically advanced countries. It is now the domain of any country who decides to invest in the people and the technology and take a longer term view than the average hacker for hire.

 

Sun Tzu believed that “all warfare is deception,” — but where does that leave the average person; who does not understand they are caught up in forces through control of information; that they can neither understand or ever hope to control?

 

I spoke at the US Army CyberTalks in NYC in 2016 on “Global Cyber Security on Earth and in Space.”

One of the points I made; was that almost all of our lives are not just locked up in databases in offices or on the cloud somewhere. But indeed, flying through the ether every millisecond of our lives. Hundreds of companies; and dozens or more countries have the capabilities to hack into it, to manipulate it, change it and even delete. 24 hours a day, with lots and lots of ways for data to be intercepted, changed, made into FUD. (Look it up – means F*#$ed Up Data) – or just simply deleted. Not to mention when the data flying through the ether becomes weaponized by either a Nation State or a Company or a bad actor group or individual with ill intent.

The implications on the types of information warfare that Russia is enacting on the US and the Western Coalitions; is that it is multi level, persistent, and consistent. It is coming in through a combination of weaponized social media, fake websites, fake news, automated bots as well as hacking, intrusions and exfiltrations of data that then become weaponized. It is happening in multiple countries, with a huge budget and thousands of people behind the execution of it. This was the path the Russians took in 2016: a multi pronged effort, all across the United States, focused on Federal, State, and Local authorities. This included national and state political leaders, parties and their allies, as well as election vendors and election technology across the spectrum.

To be extremely clear, the efforts that Russia leveraged as non lethal acts of War against the USA – are still ongoing. They never stopped. Indeed, 2016 was just a continuation of Russia’s long game in cyber and information warfare.

So now we need to take action steps as a country to come together. We need to put aside political partisanship and simply deal with what we have to deal with in terms of investigations and cleaning house. Of all those who played a role in the greatest act of treason since Benedict Arnold tried to give West Point to the King’s Army. All of the people in the United States who played any part in supporting this treasonous Act of War should pay.

Just like General Arnold did.

This is a time for the decision to be made. Are you Partisan, and metaphorically selling out West Point by supporting those who sold out the USA to Russia?

Or are you a Patriot — and going to fight for your country to not disappear by virtue of some digital exhaust of ongoing, persistent information warfare + cyberwar?

Nathan Hale was America’s first spy to be killed in action. When being hanged by the British – he is reported to have said this most famous quote: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Hopefully none of us have to be in such a dangerous position. But we are in a place in history where Patriots are already at work, saving our country.

What are you?

 

*When your kids ask you what you did to stop this non lethal act of war, what will you say?*

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#cybersecurity The Gift everyone needs for the Holidays!

Happy Holidays.

It is, as is so commonly mentioned in the media: “That Time of Year Again.” Yup. Packages. Shiny New Things. Cool Toys for the Kids and kid-adults alike.

It is also the time of year of increased cyber crime attempts aimed at retailers.

Add also the time of year when more families and organizations introduce new varieties of malware, ad-malware, viruses, worms, bad bots and devices that phone “home” into our homes, workplaces and civic spaces.

How? Because many devices are coming pre-loaded with malware. How many parents look into the workings of a cheap tablet before handing it off to the kids? How many people are checking new apps to see the permissions being requested on those new devices and old ones too?

How many companies are not checking to see if their employee’s new devices are safe to be brought into the workplace, let alone to be allowed access to networks? 

Do you know what your connected devices are doing this holiday season? Perhaps it is not just calling the North Pole, but indeed calling “home” with your life information. This applies to talking teddy bears, connected fridges, Iot devices of every stripe, but not to mention your phone, tablet, smartwatch, car.

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