Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Focused Cyberattacks as PSYOP

One of my many lives is that of Corporate Attorney. I serve as General Counsel for TAL Global, an international consulting firm (www.talglobal.com). The July issue of Corporate Counsel Magazine (see: http://www.corpcounsel.com/id=1202729634316?keywords=Cyberattacked&publication=CC+Corporate+Counsel) featured an article entitled: “When Bloggers Attack and Companies Fight Back” (The website for the target is pictured below: www.oldhill.com).

The article describes how a false Blog entry spiraled upward to negatively impact a successful business. Among the key points made in the article was how the initial attacks were by little known Bloggers and how initial attacks were allegedly paid for by someone with a grudge to settle against the target. These postings were then picked up by legitimate media and rebroadcast in a fashion.

One of the key points is that “Howe (the CEO of the Company) is still fighting to get the posts removed from the Internet, even though he has proved that the information in them was fabricated.“

It is also important to point out that this cyber influence tactic would be very useful in the world of Public Diplomacy where the Blogsophere and the media are more of a factor than tactical MISO where the AO may have a high illiteracy rate or where the Internet may not be a factor in daily operations.

The message for the MISO and Cyber Command community is clear. Cyberinfluence or CyberPSYOP if you prefer is an exceptionally cost-effective weapon that can be employed to manipulate the media and influence behavior. Given that MISO is the province of the SOF and the USAR and Cyber Command is yet another intermediate entity, this begs the question – are we training as we are already fighting?

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