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HBGary Leaks Confirm Government Use of Social Media to Deceive

Leaked emails from the recent HBGary leaks have definitively proven the existence of operatives using social media to infiltrate communities that are deemed to be threatening.

"most individuals and organizations understand there are risks to using social media but don't understand the full extent"

HBGary is a cyber intelligence company that frequently does work for the government, specializing in the exploitation of Social Media. In an email titled “Social Media, Exploitation, and Persistent Internet Operations”, CEO Aaron Barr sends what appears to be a sales pitch to description of a social media exploitation training program. The email notes that social media has “created an entirely new set of useful technologies and security vulnerabilities” and that “most individuals and organizations understand there are risks to using social media but don't understand the full extent”. He boasts that “HBGary Federal has extensive experience in social media technologies, how to use these tools effectively, what the risks are to information exposure and exploitation, and how to more effectively protect yourself and your organization”. HBGary Federal was a division of HBGary that was dedicated to offering services to the federal government, so this “extensive experience in social media” it has gained has been from past government contracts. It offers to teach how to “effectively protect yourself and your organization”, citing that “social media platforms provide to sic much easy opportunities for threats”. Essentially, it is offering the government training on how to effectively use social media as a way to deceive the populace.

"social media platforms provide to [sic] much easy opportunities for threats"

This is not the first time HBGary has been in the news. In the past, Barr has bragged about his ability to doxx members of anonymous using various forms of social media. Ironically, it was these very actions that provoked Anonymous to conduct the hack behind the email leaks. Additionally, it has already been been caught planning to create fake accounts and spread misinformation in opposition groups, with the intent of then using said missinformation as a means to discredit the group. This was done under direct instruction from the Chamber of Commerce.

We know for a fact that the Government is using social media as a means of manipulation. The only question remaining is, to what extent?