I do have to admit that I have my political views and my party allegiance, but when it comes to this blog site, I remain apolitical. But one thing is for sure: The news is interesting these days, with all of the controversy that is going, especially into the probe by Mueller if the Russians have interfered with the 2016 US election.
Well today, the Russians make the headlines again today, but on the Cybersecurity front. There are reports floating that covert Russian agents targeted various social media sites in order to harvest the personal and confidential information of the users of these particular sites. According to the reports, they specifically targeted African American businesses during the last Presidential election. They uses aliases such as “BlackMattersUS” and “Black4Black”.
Although all of the major social media sites were targeted, the primary ones were Facebook and Instagram. However, it is interesting to note that Cybersecurity analysts think that the Russians want to do more than just meddle in a Presidential election. Rather, their ultimate goal is to weaken the current form of the American Federal government. They also note that the Russian agents have the added advantage of the mayhem and chaos that is occurring. Because of this, they can use Social Engineering tactics very well to achieve these goals.
According to the CEO of Tellagraff, Mark Graff: “Their strategic goal was not to elect Donald Trump. The strategic goal was to disrupt American society, undermine our feelings of unity, undermine our faith in democracy . . . they’ve been trying to do that for over 50 years — and now what they can do, using social media, is do it from the comfort of government buildings inside Russia.” (SOURCE: https://www.technewsworld.com/story/85187.html).
However, it has also been noted that Facebook and Twitter, although they are taking proactive security stances to protect their users, much more needs to be done. For instance, it is claimed that they could do a much better job in terms of actually confirming the identities of users once immediately after they open an account, and to have much more sophisticated, dynamic content filters in place in order flag inflammatory verbiage that is posted.
But, they have taken a late entry into the game. Other tools that can be used are automated IP monitoring tools to track down any suspicious accounts, and also to be on the look out for those users who have accounts in which appears that English is not their first language. Also, any content that is posted needs to be carefully examined in order to make sure that there are no subliminal meanings behind them. Of course, this will mean the deployment of very sophisticated content filtering tools.
It has also been widely advocated that Facebook and Twitter need to do a much better job of posting of what appears to be legitimate content versus what is junk and spam. According to Sherban Naum, a senior VP at Bromium: “Twitter and Facebook could also publish trending information about bots and bad information so users can see what’s trending that is legit and what’s trending that is junk.” (SOURCE: https://www.technewsworld.com/story/85187.html).
What is the end user to do? Just be careful who friend on Facebook and who you follow on Twitter. Take the same approaches as you would when approaching a Phishing E-mail: You would just delete it. For instance, this morning I received a message on Facebook from a widower in California. She claimed that she was the heiress to the Wal Mart fortune, and wanted me to communicate privately with her on her personal E-Mail. She said she would transfer me a certain amount of money so that I could buy her the medicines that she needed for her hospital stay. What did I do? I just deleted the message, unfriended her, and also reported her spam to Facebook. It’s just as easy as that. It doesn’t take effort. In other words, go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, then most likely it is not.