Wednesday, May 29, 2019

It’s Not The Headline That Should Get Your Attention: AI and Cyber Influence

Sometimes it’s not the headline that should cause concern, but the text. Lately I have been doing quite a bit of research in the area of Cyber Influence. So when I saw an article “New research generates deepfake video from a single picture” (see:, which is also a photo source), I was naturally intrigued.

Apparently, it is relatively easy to create a fake video of a subject when there is a great deal of footage of that subjects. This is the case of “creepy video amalgams of Donald Trump and Nick Cage”(see:, another photo source)

This technique would seem to work most of the time from a PSYOP perspective since government leaders are often a subject and in the case of ‘generic’ images, file photos or other widely available material would be a good source.

However, this particular article concerns a technique that the Samsung AI research team (more about this in a moment) called “one-shot learning. In essence faces have key features or landmarks which the software “can then use as anchors when creating deepfake videos of new targets”. If you are a real geek and are interested in the details, you can check out their paper “Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models” at, another photo source.

Talk of technology is all well and good and should be noted and understood. However, what I found to be the most interesting aspect of the article was the note in passing “Samsung Research’s Moscow-based AI lab”

Samsung of course is a Korean chaebol or family-controlled companies. You can learn more about “Money, Power and Family” in a NY Times Feb. 17, 2017 article which you can find at: (another photo source).

As a Brooklyn born, former Military Intelligence Officer who is also an attorney, I’m a bit skeptical by nature, so it struck me as rather interesting that the team publicly exploring and reporting on this kind of research is based in a nation state (Russia) that is well known for using cyber influence to impact other nations in a variety of ways.

If this is their public information, one wonders what is being held back. There is also the ever-present money motivation of global for profit organizations – will they sell their technology to anyone? Is that appropriate given the intended use? Looks Cyber Influence is the digital wild west out there.

Reader comments also invited.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Drones Drop Anti-Semitic Flyers in Sacramento

Drones were used to drop Anti-Semitic flyers on at least two targets in Sacramento. One target zone was an Ariana Grande concert (see:, which is also a photo source). 

There was coverage by a local TV stations and by the Sacramento State Newspaper, the State Hornet (see: and local TV station KTVU (see: also a photo source) 

The Hornet reported “A drone dropped flyers featuring swastikas and anti-media sentiments over Sacramento State’s annual “Bites on the Bridge” Farm-to-Fork dinner held Friday on the Guy West Bridge. Flyers were also dropped near the Golden 1 Center on Friday, where hundreds were gathered waiting to enter the stadium for an Ariana Grande concert.
Not all of the flyers had the same design – one flyer featured several anti-media statements placed over a red X and phrases like “stop the TV whore takeover” and “the press is the enemy,” and another flyer featured a swastika.”

Social Media and more sophisticated kinds of technology based PSYOP tend to dominate the news. It is important to remember that there is always room for some good old-fashioned leaflet drops.

While it would be hard to tell if the actual content of the leaflets was positively received by anyone who picked them up, it is fair to say that the impact of all the media coverage might have yielded the perpetrator media coverage for his vile efforts than the actual leaflets themselves.

Technology is proving to be a great leveler in the PSYOP world as more and more groups and individuals are employing various kinds of technology for their own ends. We may see more of this type of PSYOP as organizations beef up physical security for events as a response to the epidemic of shooting incidents.