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The HB Gary email that should concern us all

bstender (1279452) writes | more than 3 years ago

Social Networks 1

bstender writes "According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it [speaks of] creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content. It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona. 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.
And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth."

Link to Original Source

1 comment

Been there, done that (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 3 years ago | (#35282948)

So... this entire thing could be summed up as "just another day in the life of an astroturf firm, or for that matter a standard-issue trolling organization"?

Thanks for the concern, but the internet's dealt with pseudos and sockpuppets since the early Usenet days. Maybe back then it was just for trolling purposes, but hey, times change. The fact that this firm is just now finding out about these tactics is just a sign they're adapting, something you should expect to happen. If we seriously can't work our way around this turn of events, then we're the ones falling behind. THAT is the fact "that should concern us all".

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