Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Controlling of the Flow of Information is Already Here

The Department of Defense (DoD),
has ordered a review of its use of social networking sites such as
Twitter, MySpace and Facebook, citing concerns that security could be compromised.

Almost all branches of the military use the popular,
public-access sites in an effort to connect with young people,
they do however lack the foresight to harness the true power of such services.
The Taliban and al-Qaeda have no such limitations or hierarchy to limit the use
of these services.

The Connecticut Survivalist Alliance (CSA),
has seen the use of one-time encryption pads, Steganography and
substitution ciphers.

The DoD has not issued a department-wide ban on the use of social networking
sites, but at least some services and departments have starting clamping down.

The Marine Corps, which has long prohibited its personnel from using the sites
on work computers, issued a formal ban on Monday.

The Marines will allow waivers for "operational needs", (meaning
Open Source Intelligence OSI
) for investigations,
the distribution of news releases and for the recruitment of new personnel.

Individual Marines are still allowed use the sites on their own personal

Since we too use these services for OSI,
we've noticed changes not clearly visible to the common user.
The most noteworthy is Twitter.

The powers that be at Twitter say they are making an effort to block users from
posting links to known malicious Web sites.

While this may sound like a noble initiative spurred on by anti-virus makers,
involving the use of Google's Safe Browsing program,
which the search giant uses to prevent Internet users from visiting Web sites
that Google's bots have flagged for installing malicious software,
not all the Web sites being flagged are malicious.

Web sites flagged in Google searches by the Safe Browsing bots are generally
accompanied by a warning under the search result listing that reads:
"This Site May Harm Your Computer."
If you ignore that warning and click the link anyway,
Google will try to prevent you from visiting the site.

If you try to Tweet a link to a site flagged by Google's Safe Browsing program,
Twitter blocks the attempt, briefly displaying a message that reads: "Oops! Your tweet contained a URL to a known malware site!"

Another thing we have been struck with recently is select censorship of Tweets.

As many individuals are aware of,
our Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) unit has been monitoring Omni Fusion, Northern
Edge, Operation Nanook, National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) and Vibrant Response 2009.

Tweets on these exercises seem to be disappearing into the ether of Twitter.

We offer this example:

(Click for Full Dize)

To chronicle this issue we sent out this Tweet.
The Tweet appears in our profile, so all's good right?


(Click for Full Dize)

If you do a search on NLE 09, our tweet has magically vanished!
But wait, we sent it to #Overwatch, it'll be there right?


(Click for Full Dize)

Censorship of Tweets,
we also have reports of this on H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic
Tweets and Obama's Kenyan Birth Certificate Tweets.
The controlling of the flow of information is already here.

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