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Iran Internet Blackout: Using Twitter for Operational Intell

by Marianna Schmudlach / June 16, 2009 1:48 AM PDT

Published: 2009-06-16,
Last Updated: 2009-06-16 14:19:21 UTC
by John Bambenek (Version: 1)

One of the topics in the halls here at SANSFIRE is how twitter has been the one tool that has breached the attempt of Iranian national censors to control the information flow within and outside the country. Much of the media reporting on the violence that has resulted from the protests was first covered on twitter before it made the news. Can twitter be a useful intelligence tool? Kinda.

The problem with twitter, or for that matter any "as-it-happens" information, is that there is no good way to determine the reliability of that information. You can read some of the latest posts on the Iranian issue here. On of the top posts as I write this is that the Iranian Army itself is moving into Tehran to restore order. Is that, in fact, true? I tend to think not, but time will tell.

Because of the way "trending" twitter topics work, anyone talking about an issue will show up in that feed. That includes accounts just created today. Why does this matter? It's relevant because it would be trivial to put up "counterintelligence" via twitter. There is no tools with which to measure the "reputation" of the person posting the information. Number of followers and tweets helps, but most of the people posting information have followers in the hundreds which is a trivial amount of followers to acquire before even posting your first tweet.

More: http://isc.sans.org/?utm_source=web-sans&utm_medium=text-ad&utm_content=Featured_Links_Homepage_ISC_feat_links_homepage&utm_campaign=ISC

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