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Russia Orders System To Manipulate Mass Audiences Across Blogs, Social Networks
August 28, 2012
In an attempt catch up with US capabilities, Russian Intelligence has ordered three systems to monitor and manipulate information line.
Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service ordered a three-layered software system it that will monitor use to manipulate information on the internet using social networks and the blogosphere.
The system will work as follows:
The first part of the system will be used to discover critical propaganda attack points to be targeted.
This layer will monitor information on the internet, paying special attention to the discovery of important hubs and paths information is traveled as it propagates across social networks and through the blogoshpere.
The second part of the system will be used to create communities of controlled disinformation agents to inject state propaganda into the hubs identified in the first part of the system.
These information warfare agents will work together to form an online virtual communities of subject matter experts that regularly receive information from non-controlled state agents and design tasks to control the flow of this information through the social media and across blogs.
The third part of the system will to automatically spread propaganda support of information operations based on pre-prepared scenarios to influence mass audiences across social networks and blogs.
An RT report on the new system quotes experts who doubt such a system could be implemented without hacking social networks and resorting to other illegal tactics.
These experts are either clueless or are information agents themselves as one only needs to look into those who conduct information operations for the Pentagon to see that this is already being used in the United States, with the caveat the third part isn’t automated.
Instead their are scenarios for which talking points have already been disseminated and incidents are responded to on a case by case basis manually as opposed through the use of an automated computer system.
As StratsRisk Notes:
The US military since last year has been developing the persona bot system and most likely the Russian equivalent will be similar. The PR cold war continues , so I wonder what sort of weapon is Russia Today, Al Jazeera, BBC in this competitive environment. A silent war for the minds of the masses. Don’t forget that George Orwell worked for the BBC as a war propagandist. These tactics aren’t new, just refined for the information age.
Facespook: Russian spies order $1mln software to influence social networks
Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has ordered three systems at a total cost of about $1 million dollars that will automatically spread information on social networks and thus affect public opinion in a desired way.
Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has ordered three systems worth about $1 million dollars that will automatically spread information on the Internet.
The systems were ordered in a three separate tenders and the official client’s name is Military Unit 54939, but Kommersant Daily newspaper, which broke the news, writes that according to its sources this military unit belongs to the Foreign Intelligence Service’s structure.
The first system is called Dispute and is responsible for overall monitoring of the blogosphere and social networks in order to single out the centers where the information is created and the ways by which it is spread among the virtual society. It also looks at factors that affect the popularity of various reports among internet users.
The second system, Monitor-3, will develop the methods of organization and management of a “virtual community of attracted experts” – setting of tasks, control over work and regular reports on chosen issues.
The third, and probably most important, of the systems is Storm-12 – its task is to automatically spread the necessary information through the blogosphere, as well as “information support of operations with pre-prepared scenarios of influence on mass audience in social networks.”
The first two systems are to be ready by the end of 2012 and the third by 2013.
According to Kommersant, all three tenders were won by the company Iteranet, headed by a former deputy head of the Russian Cryptography Institute, Igor Matskevich, who previously worked on top secret state orders.
The newspaper claims that the tenders were held in a top secret mode and does not specify how the information was obtained or the reasons for deciding to disclose it.
Experts were cautious in their assessments of the new initiative. Russia’s leading startup manager of internet projects Anton Nossik said that imbedded spam filters will resist the automated opinion-making systems and suggested that part of the budget must be spent on means to overcome this.
Another expert who preferred not to be named told Kommersant that the system can only be effective if its activities go beyond the legal sphere – like hacking the administrators’ rights on social networks, mass messaging or even infecting the users’ computers with automatic “bot” programs.
The head of the Russian association Center for Safe Internet, Urvan Parfentyev, said that the news was a natural development of conventional propaganda means, like the Voice of America and RFE RL radio stations, only on the internet.
Here’s an automatic English translation of the original Kommersant article:
As it became known to Kommersant, the foreign intelligence service (SVR) today announced three closed tenders worth more than 30 million rubles, the purpose of which is to develop new methodologies for monitoring the blogosphere. The main task is the “mass distribution of informational messages within a given social networks with the purpose of forming of public opinion”. Sources of “Kommersant” believes that in the future these developments can be applied to work in the Russian segment of the Internet.
VSVR goes online
According to Kommersant, the tenders for studies with codes storm-12 , monitor-3 and Dispute “were held in January/February 2012. As can be seen from the texts of the three competitive jobs available to Kommersant, State authority is PKU “N54939″ is an image of the part sought to develop programmes for “research intelligence e-centres and regional segments of social networks” (code “Disputation”) at 4.41 million rubles, “research methods tacit control of the Web” (code “monitor-3″) to 4.99 million rubles, as well as to conduct research on the development of “special promotion tools of information in social networks” (code “storm-12″) to 22.8 million rubles.
Three works, albeit divided into different pitches, are closely associated with each other. It is planned that the blogosphere will first monitor system “Disputation”, which should be the “study of the processes of formation of community Internet centres for dissemination of information in social networks” and “definition of the factors influencing the popularity and prevalence of information”. Then the information will analyse the System Monitor-3 “. Its mission is “developing methods for the Organization and management of the online virtual community associate experts, setting tasks, control of the work in social media and regularly receive information from experts in specific subject areas.” On the basis of the received data throw the right information in social networks will start to “Storm-12″.
Its functional governmental principal may prescribe as follows: “development of special software for automated information dissemination in major social networks and organization of information support of impact scenarios specified by the mass audience social networking”. The documents stated that the purpose of this virtual army will be “mass distribution of informational messages at specific social networks, using existing user accounts, with a view to shaping public opinion, statistics gathering and analysis of efficiency of informational wave”, “analysis of the suitability of the most popular social networking services for initiating information waves of different thematic, social or other nature.”
According to Kommersant, classified all three competition has allowed that the reason for their vote was closed Government Decree dated December 23, 2011 N1116-36, on the distribution of the State Defense order on 2012 year. It is expected that the System Monitor-3 “and” Debate “will be ready in 2012 year and storm-12 — in the year 2013.
Sources of Kommersant in the struggle to argue that N54939, Commander of the military unit where Alexander Bychkov was made by the customer for all three tenders, logs on to the SVR. “Ъ” in the intelligence Ministry on this topic had remained unanswered. However, this information confirms the two documents that are publicly accessed. The first annex to the order of the Ministry of communications from August 23, 1994, “list of businesses and organizations that have received permission to conduct works on protection of information”, part of the N54939 is the management informatization of the SVR. The second, more recent document was a letter ordering the Government of Moscow city administration “benefits to pay for utility services for the staff of foreign intelligence”. As of July 2011, the document states that to provide benefits to military and civilian personnel serving in the military unit N54939, accepted without departmental affiliation on the basis of the Federal Act on the SVR.
Direct perpetrator in all three contests became company “Iteranet” (see Help). Its CEO Igor Matskevich (formerly first Deputy Chief of the Institute of cryptography, telecommunications and computer science Academy of FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE) of the call with “Ъ” evaded. He declined to respond to written questions.
Kommersant’s interlocutors in the Russian special services do not exclude that after the SVR will receive a “Storm-12″, “monitor-3″ and “Disputation”, they can be used for both to an audience, and on the inside. “Once the design is complete, will begin preliminary tests that will have to prove the effectiveness of the system,” explained one of the sources of Kommersant. The question on which countries these developments will be tested, the interlocutor of Kommersant answered evasively: “at the first stage it may be countries of Eastern Europe, which were part of the Soviet Union”.
“The Internet has attracted the attention of the secret service, and, of course, not only Russian, says another interlocutor” Ъ “. — I recall that RUSSIA offered on a legislative basis, under the auspices of the United Nations — ban to use the Internet to” undermine the political, economic and social systems of other States, as well as for “manipulating information flows in information space of other States, including misinformation” (related initiatives Kommersant wrote, inter alia, April 27). However, our partners, particularly Western, not found it necessary to listen to us. ”
Boat indoor application
Commenting on the possibility of new developments in Russian social networks, the interlocutor of Kommersant noted that the practice of technology transfer between the ISI and the FSB is not commonly used because it increases the risk of information leakage, but noted that in the event of such a necessary resource can be used in both departments, needs no governmental acts is required, the question shall be determined at the level of the management of the two departments.
Interviewed by “Ъ” experts note that the ISI program is being developed by universal in its application. “In the text of the tender for the Storm-12″ direct text states that millions of rubles of secret services wanted to spend on the roll of a previously registered in social networks accounts. The main obstacle to the operation of the system are the remedies for social networks from spam, said the Kommersant Online expert Anton Nossik. — part of the money will be spent on neutralizing these defenses. ”
Agree with him and another expert in the field of Internet technologies, who asked not to be named. “Almost 100% chance that the addressees,” customers “of this work in the future can become a Russian social networks and their users, as well as foreign networks and resources such as Facebook and Google, to technical control of the Russian security services do not have access, but do the external monitoring of events and activities, as well as exploring the functionality and look for holes in their defense against the political oppositionactive in a foreign network resources, they are capable of, “he says.
According to experts, these programs can be very effective, especially when it comes to opening the administrator, blanket mailing or infecting your computer bots. “Even in the several divisions of the former KGB – FSB of Russia were present scientific and practical work on various” social projects “, which is precisely described” close to the text “in the content of the tenders, but with regard to the Internet and today’s social networks – he recalls. – Relevant “scientific” centers – multi-story candles that are on Vernadsky Prospekt at Moscow State University building and the underground “university. There were topics with spreading racial hatred and thereby reduce U.S. forces combat capability, with the introduction and further provocation to the split of the Soviet dissident movement, to prevent the spread of unwanted information in the event of natural disasters and civil unrest, and vice versa, ensuring the dissemination of false, but “useful” , Help “. coordinator Safer Internet Centre Urvan Parfentiev recalls that the first time about Russia’s attempts to influence the situation in other countries through the internet history after talking with the demolition of the monument to the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn in 2007.” Nothing is impossible to locate and viral disseminate information on the network, no, – said Mr. Parfentiev. – As for the impact from the outside, there is always something you can either talk about the positive image of Russia as it does TV Russia Today, or respond to certain information peaks when the attention of foreigners focused on Russia. “According to experts, in such a situation can be a defensive strategy – for example, after the war in South Ossetia, Russia has had to spend a lot of time debunking the image created by the Western media – or offensive. As an example, an expert led to radio” Liberty “and” Voice of America “during the Soviet era, when they constantly found any negative information occasions.” Just 30 years ago for the job using the radio, and now they are replaced by the Internet, “- concluded Mr. Parfentiev.
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