Cover image for Messing with the enemy : surviving in a social media world of hackers, terrorists, Russians, and fake news / Clint Watts.
Title:
Messing with the enemy : surviving in a social media world of hackers, terrorists, Russians, and fake news / Clint Watts.
Author:
ISBN:
9780062795984
Edition:
First edition
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
289 pages ; 24 cm
Contents:
Omar and Carfizzi -- The rise and fall of the virtual caliphate -- "That is not an option unless it's in a body bag" -- Rise of the trolls -- Harmony, disharmony, and the power of secrets -- Putin's plan -- Postmortem -- Staring at the men who stare at goats -- From preference bubbles to social inception: the future of influence -- Surviving in a social media world.
Abstract:
"Clint Watts electrified the nation when he testified in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. In Messing with the Enemy, the counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and homeland security expert introduces us to a frightening world in which terrorists and cyber criminals don't hack your computer, they hack your mind. Watts reveals how these malefactors use your social media information and that of your family, friends and colleagues to map your social networks, identify your vulnerabilities, master your fears and harness your preferences. Thanks to the schemes engineered by social media manipulators using you and your information, business executives have coughed up millions in fraudulent wire transfers, seemingly good kids have joined the Islamic State, and staunch anti-communist Reagan Republicans have cheered the Russian government's hacking of a Democratic presidential candidate's e-mails. Watts knows how they do it because he's mirrored their methods to understand their intentions, combat their actions, and co-opt their efforts. Watts examines a range of social media platforms--from the first Internet forums to the current titans of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn--and bad actors--from al-Qaeda to the Islamic State to the Russian social media troll farm--to illuminate exactly how our enemies use Western social media for their nefarious purposes. He explains how he's learned, through his successes and his failures, to engage with hackers, terrorists, and even the Russians--and how these interactions have generated methods for fighting back against those who seek to harm people on the Internet. He concludes with a snapshot of how advances in artificial intelligence will make future influence even more effective and dangerous to social media users and democratic governments worldwide. Shocking, funny, and eye-opening, Messing with the Enemy is a deeply urgent guide for living safe and smart in a super-connected world."--Jacket.
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Summary

Summary

A former FBI Special Agent, U.S. Army officer and leading cyber-security expert offers a devastating and essential look at the misinformation campaigns, fake news, and electronic espionage operations that have become the cutting edge of modern warfare--and how we can protect ourselves and our country against them.

Clint Watts electrified the nation when he testified in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. In Messing with the Enemy, the counterterrorism, cybersecurity and homeland security expert introduces us to a frightening world in which terrorists and cyber criminals don't hack your computer, they hack your mind. Watts reveals how these malefactors use your social media information and that of your family, friends and colleagues to map your social networks, identify your vulnerabilities, master your fears and harness your preferences.

Thanks to the schemes engineered by social media manipulators using you and your information, business executives have coughed up millions in fraudulent wire transfers, seemingly good kids have joined the Islamic State, and staunch anti-communist Reagan Republicans have cheered the Russian government's hacking of a Democratic presidential candidate's e-mails. Watts knows how they do it because he's mirrored their methods to understand their intentions, combat their actions, and coopt their efforts.

Watts examines a range of social media platforms--from the first Internet forums to the current titans of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn--and nefarious actors--from al Qaeda to the Islamic State to the Russian social media troll farm--to illuminate exactly how they use Western social media for their nefarious purposes. He explains how he's learned, through his successes and his failures, to engage with hackers, terrorists, and even the Russians--and how these interactions have generated methods for fighting back against those that seek to harm people on the Internet. He concludes with a snapshot of how advances in artificial intelligence will make future influence even more effective and dangerous to social media users and democratic governments worldwide. Shocking, funny, and eye-opening, Messing with the Enemy is a deeply urgent guide for living safe and smart in a super-connected world.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Counterterrorism expert Watts writes a timely, occasionally chilling account of the use and misuse of social media by a variety of geopolitical players. He traces the rise of social media platforms-looking well beyond Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube-to illustrate how many have been used for a variety of nefarious ends, such as influencing potential voters or radicalizing potential terrorists. Watts uses examples-ranging from early social platforms such as Yahoo Groups, which were meeting places for like-minded extremists, to more recent dating apps, which have been used to gather personal or compromising information on users-to make the case that all platforms are vulnerable to misuse. He finishes with advice on coping with social media's effects on contemporary life. He peppers his analysis with his personal experiences pulling communications-based pranks at West Point, interacting with a U.S.-born al-Qaeda operative on Twitter, identifying internet trolls, and falling victim to viral misinformation (aka fake news), demonstrating his expertise while showing just how easy it is to be affected by bad actors on social media. Watts combines a down-to-earth voice with an ability to recreate moments of social media troublemaking to discomfiting, informative effect. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Former FBI special agent Watts presents a timely yet dangerous look at how the world shares and discovers information, along with how people strive to manipulate and sway information. He explains how the dawn of the new millennium gave terrorists and nefarious individuals an effective way to communicate via social media platforms to recruit followers, incite violence, and influence global politics. Specific examples are discussed, from Osama bin Laden using social media in its infancy as a recruitment tool to how Russia waged "information attacks" and hacked U.S. email accounts to influence the 2016 presidential election-which he asserts won Donald Trump the White House-that led to social media giants coming under fire. A discussion of why corporations and social media companies should be in panic mode at a time when public trust in their services has dwindled owing to various entities using their platforms for harm is also provided, as well as thoughts on how they and the U.S. government can protect themselves and our citizens. Verdict Reminiscent of John Perkins's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man for its behind-the-scenes details of corruption, this work will appeal to military, cybersecurity, and political readers.-David Miller, Farmville P.L., NC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

1 Omar and Carfizzip. 1
2 The Rise and Fall of the Virtual Caliphatep. 21
3 "That Is Not an Option Unless It's in a Body Bag".p. 49
4 Rise of the Trollsp. 79
5 Harmony, Disharmony, and the Power of Secretsp. 101
6 Putin's Planp. 129
7 Postmortemp. 155
8 Staring at the Men Who Stare at Goatsp. 187
9 From Preference Bubbles to Social Inception: The Future of Influencep. 211
10 Surviving in a Social Media Worldp. 235
Acknowledgmentsp. 265
Notesp. 269

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