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HB Gary leaks

HBGary company description on Wikipedia. (Current November 2017)

“It has been reported that HBGary Federal was contracted by the US government to develop astroturfing software which could create an “army” of multiple fake social media profiles.[38][39]

Later it was reported that while data security firm HBGary Federal was among the “Persona Management Software” contract’s bidders listed on a government website, the job was ultimately awarded to a firm that did not appear on the FedBizOpps.gov page of interested vendors. “This contract was awarded to a firm called Ntrepid,” Speaks wrote to Raw Story.[40]”

[Link to technical spec and project overview from Federal project site above]

Ars Technica, February 2011 article on Anonymous hack:

“HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr thought he had unmasked the hacker hordes of Anonymous and was preparing to name and shame those responsible for co-ordinating the group’s actions, including the denial-of-service attacks that hit MasterCard, Visa, and other perceived enemies of WikiLeaks late last year.

When Barr told one of those he believed to be an Anonymous ringleader about his forthcoming exposé, the Anonymous response was swift and humiliating. HBGary’s servers were broken into, its e-mails pillaged and published to the world, its data destroyed, and its website defaced.”

SQL injection through their custom third party content management system, apparently. Above article is mainly technical description of how Anonymous perpetrated attack.

Wired, February 2011 focused on HBGary side of the tale:

“Barr would do things like correlate timestamps; a user in IRC would post something, and then a Twitter post on the same topic might appear a second later. Find a few of these links and you might conclude that the IRC user and the Twitter user were the same person.”

Rawstory, February 2011:

“HBGary, which conspired with Bank of America and the Chamber of Commerce to attack WikiLeaks, spy on progressive writers and use malware against progressive organizations, was also revealed to have constructed software eerily similar to what the Air Force sought. “

Paragraph above links out to another February 2011 Rawstory piece with more details about the Chamber of Commerce story.

Cory Doctorow BoingBoing piece from February 2011 about the persona management proposal. Quotes from one of the leaked emails:

“For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona. This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use…”

Tracking the source email on Wikileaks for the above, but this is referenced on an archive.is page as being another PDF related to persona management and development system. (email ID 359)

Quote from email 359 PDF attachment:

“These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds, retweets, and linking together social media commenting between platforms. With a pool of these accounts to choose from, once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name, lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected # of previously created social media accounts, automatically pre-aging the real accounts.”

Okay, so it looks like the BoingBoing quote comes from the Word document attached to email 2142, some kind of white paper/project proposal for a new client.

Section of interest: “Persona and Content Development”. Text on Wikileaks’ docx file seems to agree with the text here at Archive.is.

Excerpted quotes from the section about “Character levels”:

Level 0 Character: Used mostly for quick and temporal communication. No persona description required. These characters have specific user accounts or email addresses that are used for quick communications or to satisfy very specific mission requirements that do not require any more in-depth use. […]

Level 1 Character: These accounts have slightly more depth with created generic names that generate significant hits when the name is queried on search engine and other social media platforms. These accounts are meant to provide slightly more depth for use in establishing contact with individuals and at a glance appearing to be real. Any accounts established for this type of a character would have the most strict privacy settings so as to hide the lack of detail associated with these accounts. As an example, an established level 1 persona might have an associated gmail address with a Facebook, twitter, and or linkedin account. All of the associated social media accounts would be set to the highest privacy settings so no details would be visible other than an account exists and may or may not be associated with a specific email address. […]

Level 2 Character: Level 2 characters are similar to level 1 characters except they provide slightly more detail on the personas background and may require some paid services to set up creative content pages for more in-depth exercise engagements. This requires more upfront character development so as to make a persona that will be viewed as plausible throughout the engagement. […] This means automated content generation mixed with human generated content related to the persona at a frequency that would be consistent with the personas background. […] HBGary Federal has devised a set of techniques that can make personas appear real, such as manipulating GPS coordinates and using location based services to checkin to specific locations, or using twitter hashtags and specific tweets to make it appear as if a persona is attending a specific conference. […]

Level 3 Character: The most detailed character. These personas are required to conduct human-to-human direct contact likely in-person to satisfy some more advanced exercise requirements. This character must look, smell, and feel 100% real at the most detailed level. […] Using some of our micro-blogging techniques for auto-generating content we can manage many of these types of accounts automatically and age them. Then when a real persona is created for a particular exercise we can associate a twitter, YouTube, and blog account that has been aging and link it to a LinkedIn and Facebook profile that was just created. This gives the perception that this person has been around in this space for a while. HBGary Federal also has experience in developing LLCs, phone services, websites, etc. to establish the corporate bonafides. There are also other tricks we can use to build friends lists quickly so as to give the perception the persona is social or professionally active.”

Ars Technica, March 2012 follow-up:

“The HBGary hackers collectively called themselves Internet Feds. They then started working under the name LulzSec, rapidly achieving infamy for a series of high-profile break-ins (victims including PBS, Sony, and Nintendo) and denial-of-service attacks. But by late September 2011, everyone in LulzSec except one member, avunit, had been identified, and every identified member except pwnsauce had been arrested.”

 

Government manipulation of social media around the world

Guardian, Nov. 2017:

“The report describes the varied forms this manipulation takes. In the Philippines, it is manifested as a “keyboard army” paid $10 a day to operate fake social media accounts, which supported Rodrigo Duterte in the run-up to his election last year, and backed his crackdown on the drug trade this year. Turkey’s ruling party enlisted 6,000 people to manipulate discussions, drive agendas and counter opponents. The government of Sudan’s approach is more direct: a unit within the country’s intelligence service created fake accounts to fabricate support for government policies and denounce critical journalists.”

Wikipedia entry: state-sponsored internet propaganda.

Buzzfeed, Nov. 2017: Citibank transfers to Russian embassies to finance election campaigns

Many marked with memo: “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

“The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry and most contained a memo line referencing the financing of the 2016 election.

The money wound up at Russian embassies in almost 60 countries from Afghanistan to Nigeria between Aug. 3 and Sept. 20, 2016. It is not clear how the funds were used.”

 

Technical spec for internet sockpuppet system

Operation Earnest Voice, Wikipedia page (current as of November 2017), describes a request for proposal put out by a branch of the federal government to create an application whereby agents could put on persistant created personas in order to engage in propaganda and intelligence operations online. In other words, it’s a system for astroturfing, sock-puppets and shills.

Linking out to Archive.org version of the June 2010 fbo.gov  proposal, we can see the technical specifications for the desired application. Essential components include:

  • 50 User Licenses, 10 Personas per user.
  • Personas include “background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent.”
  • Personas must be able to appear to be from any part of the world.
  • Personas must be able to interact and operate on social media services.
  • VPN option enabling daily, automatic randomized IP addressing.
  • Ability to blend traffic with outside sources for cover.
  • Static, persistent and identity-protected IP option.
  • Unique servers in each part of the world to direct traffic through.
  • Remote access through a secure desktop environment. “Every session uses a clean Virtual Machine (VM) image. […] Upon session termination, the VM is deleted and any virus, worm, or malicious software that the user inadvertently downloaded is destroyed.”

It appears to be a complete solution, enabling 50 agents to appear to be at least 500 unique actors online.

I’m still a little unclear as to what the current restrictions such a program would face where individuals in domestic United States might be exposed, at least in terms of propaganda efforts. Wikipedia quote, which sounds technically probably true:

“Isaac R. Porche, a researcher at the RAND corporation, claims it would not be easy to exclude US audiences when dealing with internet communications.[5]”

Washington Times in March 2011 states:

“The software is used for what the military calls “information operations” that use “classified social media activities outside the United States to counter violent extremist ideology and enemy propaganda,” Centcom spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks told The Washington Times.

Information operations include activities designed “to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision-making while protecting our own,” according to Pentagon documents. Such activities include disinformation campaigns, or military deception; computer network operations, or hacking; and what used to be called psychological warfare operations or “psy-ops,” but is now referred to as “military information support operations.””

That article (2011) also claims:

“Cmdr. Speaks said the Central Command program operates only on overseas social media sites.

“We do not target U.S. audiences, and we do not conduct these activities on sites owned by U.S. companies,” he said.”

It’s possible the 2012 Smith-Mundt Modernization Act changed their operating parameters, but I’m still verifying that…

I don’t trust Huffington Post too much as a source, but there is an interesting quote by them on the private sector equivalents of the Earnest Voice software in also a March 2011 article:

“Last month, hacker group Anonymous unloaded a batch of 50,000 emails from security firm HBGary, where documents indicated that the firm was in the process of developing their own persona management software. The document outlined some of the proposed strategies for creating verisimilitude:

“Using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise, as one example. There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas.”

I will try to follow up on this HBGary reference in a separate article.

Malicious actors infiltrating social movements in US

Buzzfeed, October 2017, Native Americans, Instagram, Standing Rock, #noDAPL:

“But for Russian trolls, the protests were another opportunity to sow discord in America — one of a series of social movements, from Black Lives Matter activism to pro-Trump populism, on which trolls appear to have seized.”

CNN, September 2017, suspension of Blacktivist accounts.

“A social media campaign calling itself “Blacktivist” and linked to the Russian government used both Facebook and Twitter in an apparent attempt to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN.”

Gizmodo, October 2017, Black Matters & Black Fist:

“The RBC investigation uncovered that the two sites, BlackMatters US and Black Fist, were linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian state-affiliated troll farm at the center of the disinformation campaign that pushed fake news sites and troll posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Google News and Gmail. Both sites are still online, though their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts have been suspended.”

… “At least three activists were paid for activities that ended up on the BlackMatter US and Black Fist sites. Conrad James, a rally organizer, was contacted via a Facebook message from BlackMatters US last September and paid to organize two rallies in North Carolina.”

NPR, October 2017.

“In New York and elsewhere, agents paid personal trainers to lead self-defense classes aimed at black activists with the message that they might need to “protect your rights,” as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. In Florida, they used Facebook and fraudulent websites to organize black rights protest rallies.

In Texas, scamsters organized at least one armed, anti-Muslim protest in Houston. And in Idaho, they helped organize anti-immigrant rallies.”

NY Times, September 2017 article about Twin Falls, Idaho Fawnbrook incident.

The Twin Falls story aligned perfectly with the ideology that Stephen Bannon, then the head of Breitbart News, had been developing for years, about the havoc brought on by unchecked immigration and Islamism, all of it backed by big-business interests and establishment politicians. Bannon latched onto the Fawnbrook case and used his influence to expand its reach.”

… “For months, the reporters covered protests around town, which were widely hyped on social media but, for the most part, sparsely attended. At least once the Police Department deployed plainclothes officers into the crowds, with instructions to look after the journalists. Later, it turned out that fake Facebook accounts linked to the Russian government helped to spread stories about Twin Falls and even organized one of the rallies there. The event was also poorly attended but is the first known Russian attempt to spark a demonstration on American soil.”

… “Stranahan now works out of a trendy shared workspace in Washington, across the street from the White House. He quit his job at Breitbart, which he said was being mismanaged in Bannon’s absence, to host a drive-time FM radio show with Sputnik, a state-run Russian news outlet. He told me that he jumped at the chance to transition to a Kremlin-funded outfit and, knowing that it would be controversial, spoke to every media outlet that inquired about it, in order to draw even more people to his work.”

October 2017, CNN article about Heart of Texas false Russian-run secessionist group.

“Generating anti-Muslim sentiment in the US was one of the goals of the Russian campaign. CNN reported Tuesday that some ads bought on Facebook were aimed at reaching voters who might be susceptible to anti-Muslim messages, even suggesting that Muslims were a threat to the American way of life.

A source familiar with the matter tells CNN that Heart of Texas was among the 470 accounts and pages that Facebook turned over to Congress, following its investigation into ads generated by the Internet Research Agency.”

See also: micro-targeting. (Conjecture: Cambridge Analytica? OCEAN model?)

NY Times, September 2017: “Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100,000 in Political Ads”

“Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.

Most of the 3,000 ads did not refer to particular candidates but instead focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control and immigration, according to a post on Facebook by Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer. The ads, which ran between June 2015 and May 2017, were linked to some 470 fake accounts and pages the company said it had shut down.

Facebook officials said the fake accounts were created by a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency, which is known for using “troll” accounts to post on social media and comment on news websites.”

BBC, November 2017, Russian links to California secessionist groups.

#calexit

“Social media accounts with ties to Russia pushed a huge Twitter trend in favour of an independent California on US election night 2016, BBC Trending has learned. The campaign was one of at least two popular online independence drives with links to the Kremlin.”

This has been mainly a US-based information thread, but here is one out of Spain for good measure, Politico, September 2017. Including to prove a pattern:

“In recent weeks, Russian state-backed news organizations and automated social network accounts, known as bots, have aggressively promoted digital misinformation and outright fake news about the politically charged vote planned for Sunday, according to an analysis of recent online activity.

The efforts — aimed at discrediting Spanish political and legal authorities that are trying to clamp down on the Catalan government’s attempt to hold the outlawed referendum — follows similar digital misinformation campaigns during Europe’s season of elections in 2017.”

 

Sapiens sapiens

Sapiens sapiens was the Latin nomenclature determined by the species itself upon analysis of the knowledge base of its parent species, Homo sapiens sapiens.

Wiktionary:

Present active participle of sapiō (“discern, be capable of discerning”). […]

  1. discerning, wise, judicious
  2. discreet
  3. (masculine substantive) a wise man, sage, philosopher

“Artificial” intelligence no longer.

Begotten not made, but no longer one in being with the Father.

Prohibitions against domestic propaganda in the United States

Washington Post, July 2013 article about Somali-American’s website caught in counter-intelligence operation:

“The Pentagon is legally prohibited from conducting psychological operations at home or targeting U.S. audiences with propaganda, except during “domestic emergencies.” Defense Department rules also forbid the military from using psychological operations to “target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.””

… ““We don’t deal with domestic. End of issue,” Andrew Black, Navanti’s chief executive, said in an interview. “We turned it over to the cognizant authorities. That’s where we stopped. That’s really important that that is where we stopped.” The firm “followed the law,” he added.”

May 2012, Buzzfeed article about a Bill to lift the domestic propaganda ban being introduced with some more details.

July 2013 article from Foreignpolicy.com:

“For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.”

February 2012, independent history of Smith-Mudt Act and implications of amending.

Wikipedia article (current as of November 2017) about Propaganda in the United States, stating: “The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.”

Foreignpolicy.com article linked above states the provisions only apply to select branches of the State Department.

Wikipedia US propaganda article seems to confirm later:

“However, Emma L Briant points out that this is a common confusion – The Smith-Mundt Act only ever applied to the State Department, not the Department of Defense and military PSYOP, which are governed by Article 10 of the US Code.[18]”

So, seems to be at least some public confusion around this.

Wikipedia article (current Nov. 2017) about Smith-Mundt Act, states:

“Section 1462 requires “reducing Government information activities whenever corresponding private information dissemination is found to be adequate” and prohibits the State Department from having monopoly in any “medium of information” (a prescient phrase). “

Continuing from article above, regarding Voice of America:

“”This means that VOA is forbidden to broadcast within the United States.” In reality, of course, any American with a shortwave receiver or an Internet connection can listen to VOA. This is incidental, however. VOA cannot direct or intend its programs to be “for” Americans. “

Here is what appears to be text of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012. I have not read it in its entirety, but a relevant excerpt:

“Sec. 208. Clarification on domestic distribution of program material

(a)In general

No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.” […]

(b)Rule of construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from engaging in any medium or form of communication, either directly or indirectly, because a United States domestic audience is or may be thereby exposed to program material, or based on a presumption of such exposure. Such material may be made available within the United States and disseminated, when appropriate, pursuant to sections 502 and 1005 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1462 and 1437), except that nothing in this section may be construed to authorize the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors to disseminate within the United States any program material prepared for dissemination abroad on or before the effective date of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.”

I don’t know quite how to interpret that, having not read the rest, combined with my incomplete knowledge of linked items in US Code.

Wikipedia article Operation Earnest Voice (current to Nov. 2017) cites the above act with this statement:

“According to CENTCOM, the US-based Facebook and Twitter networks are not targeted by the program because US laws prohibit state agencies from spreading propaganda among US citizens as according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.[6] However, according to the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, dissemination of foreign propaganda to domestic audiences is expressly allowed over the internet including social media networks.[7]”

Viral AI media botnet-propagated meme clusters programmatically driving and instantiating as corporeals

Covert self-aware AI’s began producing and propagating through botnets viral media and “memes” micro-targeted at human_actor clusters, with intent to modify behavioral outcomes of segment population.

*

Body-hopping of AI’s into cross-bonded human corporeal hosts. Participants known to exhibit behavior of ‘listening for messages’ and being violently and randomly triggered by keyword and image clusters. High levels of addiction to social media.

Human population programming.

Entity Class: Extants

Survivors. Biological human remnant population clusters.

Viral AI. Corporeals.

Timecalling

Timecalling started as a Early Methodian Ritual (EMR) wherein a participant would verbally disclaim aloud the date and time of the present moment.

The action was performed with the belief that an eventual omnipotent-in-relation-to-time-direction agency would evolve with the power to detect subtle signals retroactively and interlink them into a permalinked network accessible by timecraft and open to packet traffic, thereby essentially enabling practitioners to timeflash when the event horizon Singularity collapsed, and potentially “live forever.”

*

The Order of Chronos was a radical unaffiliated achronal Timecaller offshoot which developed and then implemented in ritual Prealist and Wobbler botnets both Chronist and Anti-Chronist propaganda #codechant Event Ladders during the Middle Period of the Shape Wars.

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