Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

IW/IO/Cyber / Cambridge Analytica Update


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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It appears the GRU got sprung on the DNC hacks.

MIT fake news study.

A deluge of reports on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. The Russia dimension looks very interesting.

Miscellaneous IW/IO/Cyber reports.


EXCLUSIVE: ‘Lone DNC Hacker’ Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer

But on one occasion, The Daily Beast has learned, Guccifer failed to activate the VPN client before logging on. As a result, he left a real, Moscow-based Internet Protocol address in the server logs of an American social media company, according to a source familiar with the government’s Guccifer investigation. Twitter and WordPress were Guccifer 2.0’s favored outlets. Neither company would comment for this story, and Guccifer did not respond to a direct message on Twitter. Working off the IP address, U.S. investigators identified Guccifer 2.0 as a particular GRU officer working out of the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow. (The Daily Beast’s sources did not disclose which particular officer worked as Guccifer.) Security firms and declassified U.S. intelligence findings previously identified the GRU as the agency running “Fancy Bear,” the ten-year-old hacking organization behind the DNC email theft, as well as breaches at NATO, Obama’s White House, a French television station, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and countless NGOs, and militaries and civilian agencies in Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.Working off the IP address, U.S. investigators identified Guccifer 2.0 as a particular GRU officer working out of the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow. (The Daily Beast’s sources did not disclose which particular officer worked as Guccifer.) Security firms and declassified U.S. intelligence findings previously identified the GRU as the agency running “Fancy Bear,” the ten-year-old hacking organization behind the DNC email theft, as well as breaches at NATO, Obama’s White House, a French television station, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and countless NGOs, and militaries and civilian agencies in Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.

Government knows DNC hacker was Russian intel officer: report | TheHill

U.S. investigators have reportedly discovered that “Guccifer 2.0,” the hacker who claimed credit for a breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 election, revealed himself as a Russian intelligence operative.

Huge MIT Study of ‘Fake News’: Falsehoods Win on Twitter – The Atlantic

Falsehoods almost always beat out the truth on Twitter, penetrating further, faster, and deeper into the social network than accurate information.


The importance of Measures of Effectiveness in disinformation campaigns – To Inform is to Influence

Anonymous expert:  The importance of measures of effectiveness in disinformation campaigns. Czech police concluded that rumors invented and spread by Oldřich Lukáš via email and on his blog do not fulfill the criteria for defamation/libel and/or startling news. The claims against presidential candidate Jiri Drahos included the following:  Jiri Drahos is a fierce supporter of…

Advertisers begin a boycott as Facebook gets thumbs down over data breach | News | The Times

Leading brands pulled their advertising from Facebook yesterday as a minister warned that the company could face fines of more than £1 billion if it failed to “play by the rules” with users’ data.Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, became the first organisation to suspend advertising on the s

‘They were given an inch and took 100 miles’: readers on Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and privacy | Technology | The Guardian

We asked you whether you’re thinking of deleting your Facebook account and to share your thoughts on data privacy

Zuckerberg invited to EP amid massive data breach row | UNIAN

The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of U.S. voters.

Academic in Facebook storm worked on Russian ‘dark’ personality project | News | 1450 99.7 WHTC

By Denis Pinchuk and Douglas Busvine MOSCOW/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The psychologist at the center of a scandal over the misuse of millions of Facebook users’ personal data worked with Russian resear…

Researcher Behind Facebook Breach Says He Is ‘Scapegoat’

A Cambridge University academic who harvested data on tens of millions of Facebook users says he has been made a scapegoat by the social network and Britain-based political consultancy Cambridge An…

New House Bills Take Aim at Foreign Propaganda – Foreign Policy

Two new measures try to provide Americans with greater disclosure about foreign influence.

Under Fire and Losing Trust, Facebook Plays the Victim – Bloomberg

All privacy problems are product problems, and the company has a ton of those.


Facebook and friends assume we are fools | Comment | The Times

In 2004, a young student at Harvard called Mark was chatting online to a friend about his new website. A mildly abbreviated transcript reads as follows:Mark: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard, I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses.Friend: What? How’d you manage that one?M

Whistleblower Sandy Parakilas says Facebook knew risks but failed to act | News | The Times

The Facebook leak to Cambridge Analytica was “worse than a data breach” because the company failed to safeguard users even after it understood the risks, a whistleblower said.Sandy Parakilas, 38, worked at Facebook in 2011 and 2012, two years before the data of 50 million users was obtained by a Cam

Advertisers threaten to quit Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal | News | The Times

Advertisers threatened to abandon Facebook last night as Mark Zuckerberg apologised for mistakes it made over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.Mr Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of the US technology giant, broke his silence to head off a revolt among users and financial backers. He describ

Facebook data row: Cambridge Analytica academic a ‘scapegoat’ – BBC News

Dr Aleksandr Kogan tells the BBC he is “stunned” by the allegations made against him.

FBI Ramping Up Full Blown Investigation of Zuckerberg’s Facebook; Larger Scheme Aimed At Electing Hillary – True PunditTrue Pundit

FBI officials are pressing to broaden the scope of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Facebook investigation, saying the Russian ad sales linked thus far to the social media giant are merely a “small piece” of company’s exposure. While Mueller is looking at thousands of likely illegal Facebook ads sales to Russian entities before the 2016 presidential election, FBI sources believe Mark Zuckerberg’s executives — and perhaps even Zuckerberg himself — knew for almost two years that rogue Russian entities were purchasing ads yet did not stop them. And the company failed to report the illegal activity to federal authorities, federal law enforcement sources confirm.. Instead, Facebook turned its corporate cheek and kept cashing the foreign checks so to speak. FBI sources believe other foreign entities — in the Ukraine, China and elsewhere — may have been running similar ad schemes through Facebook, sources said. Those purchases were likely not reported either. Nor were they halted by Facebook executives. The majority of the ads at the center of this controversy appear to try and sway votes for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Reports thus far in mainstream-media-funded publications portray that such Russian ads were part of a scheme linked to help President Donald Trump win the election. The data, however, proves the opposite. The ads were largely pro Democrat. Governed by a host of federal laws, it is illegal for foreign individuals or entities to make any political contributions connected to American elections. FBI sources are pressing for a broader investigation into Facebook to pinpoint just how many ads were sold to foreign entities in Russia and countries beyond. So far, in response to a recent warrant from Mueller, Facebook has returned data on approximately 3,000 ads linked to Russian concerns. Federal law enforcement sources said the FBI needs to ascertain the social media giant’s exposure and not allow Zuckerberg to dictate or disseminate the information. “They have turned over Russian ad data but it has been like pulling teeth,” one source said. “The warrant did not cover say London-based companies or people purchasing the same ads. Could be Russians fronting from any place, including the United States. Facebook has only turned over a small piece.” Federal sources said they believe Zuckerberg’s confirmation of 3,000 Russian-linked ads is grossly under reported and said Facebook will likely be forced to turn over details of a “significant number” of additional Russian ad sales. Facebook’s CSO Alex Stamos wrote in a blog post that the majority of the ads of interest “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum … touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” But Stamos was only addressing the ads sought by Mueller’s investigators. Separate FBI agents believe the scope of the warrant was limited, likely based on the direction of Mueller’s probe. Federal law enforcement sources said a broader probe could reveal a much large problem for Zuckerberg. Sources said while Zuckerberg is putting on a public facade of turning over documents voluntarily to Congress and investigators, behind the scenes his legal team has been anything but accommodating. One FBI source this is another reason federal agents are looking to expand the investigation outside the realm of Mueller. “When you act like this on the other side, it almost always means there is much more to find,” a FBI insider said. “They are guarding more problems.”

Cambridge Analytica researcher touted data-mining in Russia speech – Mar. 20, 2018

Aleksandr Kogan, the researcher at the center of the Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal, touted his controversial techniques at a lecture four years ago in Russia.

Russia-Linked Cambridge Analytica Academic: ‘I’m a Scapegoat’ – The Daily Beast

Said he had no idea his work would be used for Trump campaign.

Cambridge Analytica: ICO must wait for warrant | IT PRO

Facebook CEO apologises for alleged data abuse, outlining data protection changes

What’s genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump | TheHill

The scandal involving Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of Facebook data underscores the point.

Obama’s Former Campaign Director Makes Bombshell Claim: Facebook Was “On Our Side” | Zero Hedge

“They allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”

Social media’s wild west needs to be tamed | Comment | The Times

A British company accused of using dirty tricks to manipulate elections entrapped a Caribbean politician with the offer of a £1 million bribe to secure victory for its clients. Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, has strenuously denied that the company uses “entrapment, bribes or so-called honeytraps” after he was filmed discussing the use of “beautiful Ukrainian girls” against political opponents. He said he was simply humouring the undercover reporter. However, The Times has learnt that the SCL Group, parent company of Cambridge Analytica, carried out a “sting” on Lindsay Grant, leader of the

Former Employee: ‘Horrifying’ Misuse of User Data Was Routine at Facebook | Breitbart

Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook platform operations manager, claimed the company’s “horrifying” misuse of user data was routine, and that Facebook preferred to have “no idea” what third parties were doing with the freely available data.

Zuckerberg Summoned by U.K. Parliament as Data Firm Faces Searches – Bloomberg

U.K. lawmakers have requested Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg give evidence as part of an ongoing inquiry into how the world’s largest social-media platform handles fake news.

Russia, China and Silicon Valley Have Censorship in Common – Bloomberg

Authoritarian governments regulate what their citizens can see online. The U.S. lets tech companies make similar decisions.

EUCOM commander discusses counteracting Russian disinformation – Defence Blog

Russia is using all aspects of government power to overthrow the existing international rules-based infrastructure and especially trying to subvert NATO, Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti said during a roundtable with reporters at the Pentagon Thursday. That was reported by Jim Garamone, DoD News. The general is dual-hatted in Europe as the commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe. He has been in Washington testifying before Congress on the situation in Europe. The command’s mission includes deterrence and defense of the European theater. A decade ago, this looked like a mission that was going away. Russia seemed to be embracing the rules-based international norms and moving toward economic inclusion on the European continent.

Fear of a Coup at Broadcasting Board of Governors – Foreign Policy

Is the U.S. doing enough to fight Russia’s troll factory? | PBS NewsHour

Here’s how U.S. officials and analysts see the fight against Russian disinformation.

US says Russian hack did not compromise power grid, plants

Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he is creating an Office of Cyber Security and Emergency Response to consolidate and strengthen efforts to “combat the growing nefarious cyber threats we face.”

Resources-strapped agencies are leaving networks vulnerable to cyberattack

Since agencies must prioritize limited cyber resources for the most critical systems, they must also accept the danger of cyber breach in the less critical, according to a DHS National Programs and Protection Directorate official.

Russian tech firm Kaspersky Lab exposes America’s anti-jihad mission | World | The Times

A Russian cybersecurity company suspected of links to the Kremlin is alleged to have exposed a covert American counterterrorism programme targeting Islamist extremists.Kaspersky Lab, the antivirus software company whose programs were recently banned from government computers in the US, warned users

Visualization tools could be the future of electronic warfare

Some in industry believe the future of electronic warfare will have to incorporate a visualization capability for operators and commanders to better plan effects in a non-physical domain.

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