Latest Snowden Revelations Suggest GCHQ Is Just Like 4Chan Trolls, But With More Firepower

from the 4chan-gone-professional dept

So you misspent your teenage years as a 4chan troll and are trying to figure out what to do for a career? Given the latest revelations from the Snowden Files by Glenn Greenwald over at The Intercept, you might want to consider taking a job for the UK’s equivalent to the NSA, better known as GCHQ. As Greenwald details (and the embedded document below reveals), among GCHQ’s capabilities in its Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) are a bunch of things that sound quite a bit like traditional internet trolling efforts. These include juicing internet polls to vote for GCHQ’s favorite candidate (remember when moot was voted Time’s Person of the Year in an online poll?) as well as flooding email inboxes or websites and even connecting two people on the phone and listening to the conversation.
Here are the programs Greenwald highlights:

  • “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)
  • “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)
  • “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)
  • “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)
  • “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)
  • “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)
  • “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)
  • “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)
  • “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)
  • “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)
  • “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)
  • “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)

Of course, this is not the first time that JTRIG has been called out by Glenn Greenwald for its sneaky online practices. Last time, Greenwald highlighted its practice of putting a bunch of false info online about someone to destroy their reputation. This just digs deeper into some of the other “tricks” in JTRIG’s trick bag. Still, it is rather astounding to me just how similar many of the items sound to the kinds of things generally associated with trolling behavior. It really makes you wonder if the folks working in JTRIG are just 4chan trolls who never really had to grow up.

Source:  https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140714/10462727873/latest-snowden-revelations-suggest-gchq-is-just-like-4chan-trolls-with-more-firepower.shtml
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