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Posts Tagged ‘Social Networks’

Looking Back…

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Actually this post is nearly a couple of weeks in delay (last week I was skiing in at the Italian Dolomites!!). (Un)fortunately now that I am back to home (and to work), I have choosen this Friday The 13th, while preparing my traditional Cyber Attacks Master Index for the first half of January 2012, to give a quick look to the past year in terms of my blogging activity in order to discover which where the posts which collected most views (more than 60,000 in total), of course excluding the home page.

As you will easily notice the articles related to cyber attack statistics dominate the Top 10. For sure it is not a coincidence that some of the included articles were also quoted by leading security firms such as Kaspersky and IBM). Of course, for a correct interpretation of the chart you should also consider the period of the year in which each article was written (before the article is written, greater is the number of potential readers) and also the fact that the master index is continuously updated.

Date

Title

Views

Aug 11, 2011

One Year Of Android Malware (Full List)

16,737

Dec 31, 2011

2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline Master Index

3,668

Aug 16, 2011

Antisec hacks another Defense Contractor

2,406

Apr 17,2011

TCP Split Handshake Attack Explained

2,110

Jun 22, 2011

2011 CyberAttacks Timeline

1,535

Jun 28, 2011

2011 Cyber Attacks (and Cyber Costs) Timeline (Updated)

1,195

Dec 15, 2011

One Year Of Lulz (Part I)

1,090

Sep 15, 2011

Anatomy Of A Twitter Scam

938

May 1, 2011

Social Espionage

696

Sep 2, 2011

August 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline

590

Yes, the post dedicated to Android Malware ranked undoubtely at number 1 (it even deserved a mention on Engadget) but also the Cyber Attacks Master index “performed well” even if at a great distance (but it was destined for a more professional audience) being quoted in many information security forums.

At rank number 3 there is a summer post dedicated to cyber attacks targeting contractors (clearly it is updated to August and could not include STRATFOR), which, actually a surprise for me, gained an unexpected attention under the Dog Days (a prolific period for blogging).

Clearly my readers have shown a great interest for security statistics, since in order to find a more technical article we have to browse the chart until number 4 with my post dedicated to TCP Split Handshake. In that circumstance I forced myself to investigate the question since when I first stumbled upon it after the NSS report (and the consequent turmoil) I must confess I had never heard about it.

Again statistics at ranks number 5, 6, and 7, until number 8 which is hold by a post dedicated to a scam targeting Twitter and mobile users. At that time the scam lured so many victims, who consequently “googled” the phrase “This made me laugh so hard when i saw this about you lol” (the symptom of the scam) and were hence redirected to that article.

A particular mention is also deserved by the Social Espionage at number 9, dealing with the threats hidden behind social networks: the Social Network Poisoning seen from the perspective of several resounding examples such as Primoris Era and Robin Sage.

In any case, forgive me if I could not do it before, I really would like to say thank you to all the Information Security Professionals who inspired my work (which I decided to quote in a very special manner)…

But most of all I want to say thank you to all the readers who stumbled upon my blog and decided to keep on reading (and retweeting) the articles regularly. Hope they will find in 2012 the same level of interest shown in the past year. Since it is not so easy to conciliate my professional and personal life with my blogging activity (thanks to my wife Romina for her patience), their appreciation is the scope of my work and a crucial driver to improve the level of quality…

Tweets Like Weapons

July 27, 2011 2 comments

Thanks to Andrea Zapparoli Manzoni for suggesting the original concept of Consumerization of Warfare and this update.

If the Cyberspace is the fifth domain of war, social media are likely destined to became the major sub-domain.

In a previous post we defined “Consumerization of Warfare” the growing use of consumer technologies such as Social Networks and Mobile for Military purposes (such as propaganda or espionage).

The most obvious examples of this trend are represented, on a global scale, by the influence (also recognized by President Obama) that social media had for the Wind of Changes blowing from Maghreb to the Middle East. In this contest they were used for different purposes: for witnessing the real extent of the events (which was a key factor in fostering the Allied intervention in Libya), for virally spreading propaganda and psyops information, and, last but not least, in a strict military context, as a further evidence to “strong authenticate” coordinates for Nato Missile Attacks in Libya.

But this approach is not limited to social media. Mobile devices are the natural companions of social media, so U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, and National Security Agency are just evaluating the use of COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) products for military purposes and is evaluating several different commercially available smartphones and tablets, properly hardened and secured.

In particular, despite privacy and reputation issues, social media have proven to be a powerful device for spreading information. Consider for example a single event: Osama Bin Laden’s death. Tweets dealing with this event averaged 3440 TPS from 10:45 to 12:30pm ET on May 2 2011, reaching a peak of 5106 TPS around 11:00pm ET.

Such a formidable weapon must be fully exploited for defensive and offensive purposes, consequently the newcomer in this warfare is none other than the Pentagon, which is asking scientists to figure out how to detect and counter propaganda on social media networks in the aftermath of Arab uprisings driven by Twitter and Facebook. The US military’s high-tech research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has put out a request for experts to look at “a new science of social networks” that would attempt to get ahead of the curve of events unfolding on new media.

The program’s goal is:

To track “purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation” in social networks and to pursue “counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations,”

according to DARPA’s request for proposals issued on July 14.

The idea to build fake personas to manipulate the social arena is not completely new (and one of the players involved was just the well known HBGary Federal), but this time the scope is pretty much wider, aiming to change the course of events by massive (counter)information campaigns (think for instance to video and images coming from Libya which were crucial to foster the Allied Intervention).

I am not sure Zuckerberg & Co. will be very happy that their creatures are considered, against their will, a battlefield from The Pentagon…

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