New Field Manual about Social Media Deception

March 7, 2019

How effective are false personas and social media? The answer is, “Remarkably effective.” A new report published by the US Army provides a wealth of information about online deception. The 100 page publication is “FM 3-13.4 Army Support to Military Deception.” The document provides a review of the fundamentals of deception, information about planning a deception operation, and data about preparation and execution. An example of the information contained in the report is a useful review of the terminology of deception. DarkCyber requires these types of glossaries essential to researching additional information.

Without the key terms or jargon, queries about software, methods, and activities are difficult to formulate. Equally valuable is the checklist of “principles.” The information provides a series of reminders about specific operational considerations required for a successful deception campaign. The list of techniques is one of the first summaries of the spectrum of functions associated with deception operations.

The report captures a post operation evaluation checklist. One weakness is the report does not operational examples focused on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With NATO’s social media phishing of its own soldiers proving effective, more attention is warranted on what can be accomplished at this time with widely used online services. DarkCyber recommends this document because deception activities will become an increasing important tool in law enforcement and intelligence activities.

Stephen E Arnold, March 7, 2019

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