As we store our private information, intellectual property, wealth and secrets in cyberspace, it becomes crucial to recognise the bad actors who are continually developing new covert toolkits to steal our wealth and information.
Recently, Facebook says it interrupted an advanced persistent cyber espionage threat run by the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS) intelligence who were targeting Palestinian reporters, activists and dissidents and Syrian and Middle East groups. Spies were posing as journalists and asking targets to submit human rights stories through a booby tapped app.
These types of campaigns are long running using a variety of tools to penetrate networks and tenaciously stay on them to exploit their information. Mike Dvilyanski, Facebook’s head of cyber espionage investigations, stated that although this campaign’s methods were crude, they were persistent. He commented that there were over 300 fake accounts targeting approximately 800 individuals. The fake accounts were removed by Facebook and targeted accounts notified.
Facebook, the largest social media platform, with its capacity to correlate multiple data points is able to identify fake accounts, link them to intelligence gathering groups and take action against them, protecting us. However, these same tools are directly related to their capacity to monitor and track our every move – what we read, like, and post and they know our friends, groups, and activities. They are privy to our public and private discussions. All of this enables Facebook to assemble an extremely comprehensive profile of each one of us, beyond our conscious awareness, thereby, in turn, inviting manipulation of us through our deepest unconscious desires. The potential for corruption and the generation of wealth in numerous ways is astronomical.