Cyber Influence is clearly a growth industry. New wrinkles seem to be turning up more frequently as the pace of innovation quickens. Two of them that are very interesting to me are “Deepfakes” and what I call “Cyber Media Jamming”.
Deepfake videos as defined in a Brookings Institute article (see: https://brook.gs/2T30m9r) are: “videos that falsify information and distort reality, false news creation and dissemination, robotic tweets and social media posts that spread inaccurate narratives, and systematic disinformation campaigns from foreign and domestic adversaries.”)
Deepfake videos can be thought of either as digital propaganda leveraging videos and images. Lisa Kaplan, the Former Digital Campaign Director for the Angus King for U.S. Senate campaign (see: https://angusformaine.com/newsletter/) offers details on what the campaign had to be alert to:
- “Memes, images with embedded text, often use humor or evoke an emotion. They are frequently shared among social media users and thus rewarded within Facebook’s algorithm and seen by more users.
- Deepfakes, videos altered by an artificial intelligence tools to either misrepresent an event that occurred or manufacture an event that never occurred.
- Altered videos use traditional editing tools to misrepresent an event that occurred. Like a deepfake they seek to alter the facts that voters use when deciding whom to support.
- False news pages and articles are created and run for either political or financial gain. They can be from foreign or domestic sources and typically post divisive or sensationalist content to sway social media users to believe their content and vote accordingly. They also increase website traffic, thereby increasing revenues from ad sales.
- False information spread from individual accounts seeks to undermine the campaign’s chances of success.”
If you’re interested, the article provides guidance on how political campaigns can protect themselves. The article also offers a link to the altered video of CNN’s Jim Acosta as posted by the Washington Post.
I have posted a screenshot of a quick Google search for deepfake videos below.
Cyber Media Jamming
DOD Joint Publication 3-13-1 defines electromagnetic jamming is the deliberate radiation, reradiation, or reflection of electromagnetic energy for the purpose of preventing or reducing an enemy’s effective use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and with the intent of degrading or neutralizing the enemy’s combat capability (see: https://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3-13-1.pdf).
In January 2019 the LA Times and other newspapers were hacked in such a way as to limit their ability to print newspapers in effect ‘jamming’ the presses so they were not able to be used.. (see: https://zd.net/2R7uSx1, a photo source.)
So far we haven’t seen many of this kind of attack, but clearly we can see the possibilities especially when combining Cyber Media Jamming with kinetic attacks. Jamming of radio and TV signals during a kinetic operation would be especially unnerving to the civilian population of the target country.
We are just scratching the surface for possibilities of new wrinkles in Cyber Influence. Stay tuned – if you can.