Thursday, November 19, 2015

Anonymous blunder - Anonymous hunts down ISIS social media accounts but drops the ball

Anonymous sets out to take down ISIS.  This sounds like great news, and certainly has potential if only they would have shut up about it.  But I guess that is a problem with the entire Anonymous protocol.

Sometimes, people don't get the big picture.

Hackers around the world rejoiced that ANONYMOUS took down over 5000 ISIS twitter accounts and a mix of other social media accounts the likes of Facebook.

I hung my head in shame.

Stepping on a cockroach just means a hundred more will spawn into existence.

Closing 5000 twitter accounts only means 5000 more will grow that you may not find.

Lesson in strategic defences

Whoever is behind this "anonymous" blunder actually had a brilliant idea for crowd sourcing intelligence gathering.   They just dropped the ball on what to do with this information. 

Information is power.

What should have been done, is identify the social media accounts being used by these sorry excuses for carbon based units (humans for the non star trek folks) and then hand them off to someone that can actually do something intelligent with the information.

Now you don't simply drop this on the NSA's or FBI's desk, because you want to make sure that the information is not held under lock and key within a single intelligence agency.

So what you do is gather the top 20 intelligence agencies, find their emails, and send the entire list of 5000 accounts to ALL agencies.

Now you don't use BCC to send it all off, you make sure they all know, that they all have the intel.

This way, spy agencies can do what they do.  Correlate the information, pull out the intelligence that can be pulled out and take action.

The process set forth by a faction calling themselves Anonymous is brilliant, they even supply the python scripts and the howto instructions for identifying key words (in arabic) that would signal a potential terrorist supporter.

Since Anonymous is crowd sourcing to not speakers of the language, wouldn't it be best to eavesdrop on these conversations using folks who talk the language.... yes it would.

Trust me, the intelligence agencies have access to fluent speakers of almost any language even simplified Klingon.  (rur Sargh HuS jIH)

So as a community we should remember this.  There was indeed a better way to handle this and yield much more value.

Better luck next time!

By next week, there will be 500 new twitter accounts to identify.  

All is not lost.

I for one support Anonymous against ISIS.  Just not sure where to send my check or money donation ;-)  

I just hope the media can eventually grasp that they could be telling anonymous to do a better job.


Eric Parent is a senior security expert, specialized in coaching senior executives.  He teaches CyberSecurity at l'Ecole Polytechnique University in Montreal, and is CEO of Logicnet/EVA-Technologies, one of Canada's oldest privately owned security companies.

Follow Eric on:

Twitter @ericparent
LinkedIn :  EVA-Technologies

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