A few notable Twitter hacks appeared this week. One with Jeep’s Twitter account and the other with Burger King. You can check out one article at: http://www.zdnet.com/jeep-twitter-account-hacked-is-it-twitters-fault-7000011568/ which is also the photo source.
The Burger King hack centered on degrading that brand in favor of its arch rival, McDonalds. The Jeep hack said that Jeep was sold to Cadillac. The latter used its own Twitter account to deny involvement.
What has this got to do with PSYOP?
Plenty. While the media is awash with allegation of Chinese cyber sleuthing, there is no doubt that individuals, groups and nations are busily working at their cyber influence tradecraft and strategy.
While these Twitter attacks may seem like harmless pranks or justifiable satire, there is a sinister side that should not be ignored. Many people (especially those addicted to their smartphones and tablets) rely on Twitter as their major source of news and information. Studies of disasters have revealed that Twitter activity seems to be a reliable indicator of the public’s perception of when a disaster is evolving and lack of activity an indicator of when the public perceives the disaster is over.
Influence operations are routinely multi-dimensional and developing the array of skills and strategies needed to synergize those activities is clearly a challenge. Hopefully SWC and JSOU are both hard at work developing the training needed. In addition they should be working hard a mechanism to insure that the latest technology is constantly integrated into influence operations planning.
On another note, the largest information security conference in the US, the RSA Conference gets under way. I’m delivering two presentations and if you are attending the show in San Francisco Tuesday on 26 Feb or Thursday, 28 Feb drop in! (www.rsaconference.com)