Daily Archives: 21/07/2011

( WASHINGTON — The Pentagon 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 was 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 project echoes concerns among top military officers about the lightning pace of change in the Middle East, where social networks have served as an engine for protest against some longtime US allies.

Some senior officers have spoken privately of the need to better track unrest revealed in social networks and to look for ways to shape outcomes in the Arab world through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

“Events of strategic as well as tactical importance to our Armed Forces are increasingly taking place in social media space,” the DARPA announcement said.

“We must, therefore, be aware of these events as they are happening and be in a position to defend ourselves within that space against adverse outcomes,” it said.

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( Anonymous said Thursday morning that it had breached the databases of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and was sitting on about 1GB of data.

“Yes, #NATO was breached. And we have lots of restricted material. With some simple injection. In the next days, wait for interesting data,” the group tweetedvia the @AnonymousIRC feed.

The group said it “cannot” publish most of the data because that “would be irresponsible.” This morning, it did post a link to a restricted NATO PDF, which Anonymous said related to the outsourcing of a communications and information system in Kosovo in 2008, but the doc crashed because of too many connections. Last night, it posted a 2007 document about a similar IT project in Afghanistan.

A NATO spokesman told the Telegraph that it is investigating the claims.

The move comes about two months after NATO called out Anonymous in a draft general report about information and national security. That report noted that “Anonymous is becoming more and more sophisticated and could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files.”

NATO pointed to Anonymous’ February hack of HBGary Federal, which happened days after the firm’s then-CEO Aaron Barr told the Financial Times that he knew and planned to expose the identities of leaders behind the Anonymous collective. The subsequent Anonymous attack resulted in the defacing of Barr’s online networking profiles and exposure of 71,800 e-mails at AnonLeaks, prompting Barr’s resignation.

“It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths,” NATO concluded. “The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted.”

In response, Anonymous said NATO and HBGary Federal were corrupt. “If the government was doing nothing underhand or illegal, there would be nothing ’embarassing’ about Wikileaks revelations, nor would there have been any scandal emanating from HBGary,” Anonymous said at the time. “Our message is simple: do not lie to the people and you won’t have to worry about your lies being exposed.”

Anonymous also warned NATO not to “make the mistake of challenging Anonymous.”

The organization apparently did not heed that warning in Anonymous’ eyes. “Hi NATO. Yes we haz more of your delicious data. You wonder where from? No hints, your turn. You call it war; we laugh at your battleships,” Anonymous tweeted later this morning.

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