The Intelligence Committee assessed in January  that Moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the United States presidential election to further influence efforts worldwide. It further assessed that Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe. Director of National Intelligence Coats echoed those words as recently as May when he testified before the Senate that Russia is seeking to influence elections in Europe, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The intelligence community assesses that the Russian messaging strategy blends covert intelligence operations such as cyber activity with overt efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users, or trolls. Russia is employing a whole-of-government approach to undermining democratic institutions globally. Facing down Russia's malicious activity is no longer just a bipartisan issue. To successfully protect our institutions and the integrity of our electoral systems, we must work as a global community to share our experience. Collective awareness of Moscow's intentions spanning borders and continents will help us to enhance our security measures and thwart these disinformation campaigns.
A former FBI Special Agent and leading cyber-security expert offers a devastating and essential look at the misinformation campaigns, fake news, and electronic espionage operations that have become the cutting edge of modern warfare—and how we can protect ourselves and our country against them.Clint Watts electrified the nation when he testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. In Messing with the Enemy, the cyber and homeland security expert introduces us to a frightening world in which terrorists and cyber criminals don’t hack your computer, they hack your mind. Watts reveals how these malefactors use your information and that of your friends and family to work for them through social media, which they use to map your social networks, scour your world affiliations, and master your fears and preferences.Thanks to the schemes engineered by social media manipulators using you and your information, business executives have coughed up millions in fraudulent wire transfers, seemingly good kids have joined the Islamic State, and staunch anti-communist Reagan Republicans have cheered the Russian government’s hacking of a Democratic presidential candidate’s e-mails. Watts knows how they do it because he’s mirrored their methods to understand their intentions, combat their actions, and coopt their efforts.Watts examines a particular social media platform—from Twitter to internet Forums to Facebook to LinkedIn—and a specific bad actor—from al Qaeda to the Islamic State to the Russian and Syrian governments—to illuminate exactly how social media tracking is used for nefarious purposes. He explains how he’s learned, through his successes and his failures, to engage with hackers, terrorists, and even the Russians—and how these interactions have generated methods of fighting back. Shocking, funny, and eye-opening, Messing with the Enemy is a deeply urgent guide for living safe and smart in a super-connected world.
RUSSIAN ELECTION MEDDLING! For the past year, there’s been a non-stop barrage of this headline. Everyone has heard or seen it. Surprisingly, there was no need for the meddling. It’s been going on much longer than most people realize. On January 20, 2009, a new occupant had moved into the White House. The transition of power from the previous administration had been orderly and uneventful, and on the surface, seemed to move smoothly through the process as prescribed by the US Constitution. What millions of Americans couldn’t know was that a few years before the new president was born, another man had been offered two lives to live. His choice would change the lives of every man, woman and child on our planet. Many famous assassinations had been left behind in the wake of his ascension. He destroyed many large individual fortunes and the economies of some countries. He could have chosen the winning numbers of any lottery ticket, but instead he chose to play Wall Street, the biggest gamble and most lucrative game of them all. Perhaps, it was his reward for surviving many hellish years and being able to come back unscathed. He then established himself as a power broker. On that very day of the inauguration, he also just happened to be in town..., and was less than a mile away from the Oval Office. There are no coincidences! There are no twists of fate! And there is nothing that just happens…, without someone orchestrating the outcome!
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Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns Panel II
Understanding cyber operations in the 21st century is impossible without first understanding intelligence operations in the 20th century. Attributing and countering disinformation today is therefore also impossible without first understanding how the United States and its allies attributed and countered hundreds of active measures throughout the Cold War. Nobody summarized this dark art of disinformation better than Colonel Rolf Wagenbreth from the Stasi, who headed the Department X there. He said, "A powerful adversary can only be defeated through a sophisticated, methodical, careful, and shrewd effort to exploit even the smallest cracks within our enemies and within their elites." The tried and tested way of active measures is to use an adversary's existing weaknesses against himself, to drive wedges into preexisting cracks. The more polarized a society, the more vulnerable it is; and America in 2016, of course, was highly polarized, with lots of cracks to drive wedges into. But not all wedges; improved high-tech wedges that allowed the Kremlin's operatives to attack their target faster, more reactively, and at a far larger scale than ever before.
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