Onefree, simple scripting program to create automatic downvotes of certaintopics or news posters is called “Greasemonkey”, which is commonly usedon large social news sites such as Reddit.
For example, there are some 2,480 hits … for the google search site:reddit.com greasemonkey downvote. This is some 2,480 times that Reddit users are publicly admitting to using greasemonkey (see also [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Areddit.com+%22downvote+bots%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&client=firefox-a]this[/url]).
Propaganda agents obviouslyaren’t going to publicly brag about what they are doing, and you canbet that their use of downvote bots is much greater. Moreover, theyprobably have more sophisticated software than Greasemonkey.
Today, Raw Story reports that the Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people:
Internet users would be well advised to ask another question entirely: Are my “friends” even real people?
In the continuing saga ofdata security firm HBGary, a new caveat has come to light: not only didthey plot to help destroy secrets outlet WikiLeaks and discreditprogressive bloggers, they also crafteddetailed proposals for software that manages online “personas,”allowing a single human to assume the identities of as many fake peopleas they’d like.
The revelation was among thosecontained in the company’s emails, which were dumped onto bittorrentnetworks after hackers with cyber protest group “Anonymous” broke intotheir systems.
In another document unearthed by “Anonymous,” one of HBGary’s employees also mentioned gaming geolocation services to make it appear as though selected fake persons were at actual events.
“There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas,” it said.
Eerie as that may be, more perplexing, however, is a federal contractfrom the 6th Contracting Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, locatedsouth of Tampa, Florida, that solicits providers of “persona managementsoftware.”
While there are certainlylegitimate applications for such software, such as managing multiple“official” social media accounts from a single input, the morenefarious potential is clear.
Unfortunately, the Air Force’s contract description doesn’t help dispel their suspicions either. As the text explains, thesoftware would require licenses for 50 users with 10 personas each, fora total of 500. These personas would have to be “replete withbackground , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that aretechnically, culturally and geographacilly consistent.”
It continues, noting the need for secure virtual private networks that randomizethe operator’s Internet protocol (IP) address, making it impossible todetect that it’s a single person orchestrating all these posts.Another entry calls for static IP address management for each persona,making it appear as though each fake person was consistently accessingfrom the same computer each time.
The contract also soughtmethods to anonymously establish virtual private servers with privatehosting firms in specific geographic locations. This would allow thatserver’s “geosite” to be integrated with their social media profiles,effectively gaming geolocation services.
The Air Force added that the“place of performance” for the contract would be at MacDill Air ForceBase, along with Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad. The contract wasoffered on June 22, 2010.
It was not clear exactly what the Air Force was doing with this software, or even if it had been procured.