Does ISIS Use Fake Facebook Accounts for Intelligence Gathering? - ITS Tactical
 

Does ISIS Use Fake Facebook Accounts for Intelligence Gathering?

By Bryan Black

Facebook_Friend_Requests

Yesterday, myself, along with what seemed like a large percentage of my industry friends on Facebook, received a few new friend requests that appeared suspicious. Some questioned, some accepted and as of this morning, the accounts appear to have been removed.

For a few years now, I haven’t approved friend requests on the social media platform unless I personally knew that person. It’s meant that I’ve probably ignored your request, but please don’t take it personally.

Friends?

Sunday’s friend requests solidify that shill accounts are out there and its hard to determine their true intent. Many of my friends posted the “Not today ISIS!” statement in reference to these requests and it looks like someone in the industry had their Facebook account compromised, which led to these accounts friending many people that I knew. They used the compromised account list of friends to build their own.

A few common indicators of these fake accounts are that there’s nothing available in terms of posts or photos for you to see, other than the persona a quirky guy behind the desk wants you to see. In this case and many others, these accounts are female, attempting to friend males. They typically are either some scantily clad woman giving off the “just looking for a good time” vibe, or like these instances, an outdoor/adventure chick.

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While I can neither confirm nor deny that these accounts originated from ISIS or a terrorist network, I do wish Facebook would do more to crack down on these, rather than other things they’re doing in our industry, like trying to shut down gun sales over their network. I get it, but I feel like stopping the intel gathering of foreign interests should be a little higher on the priority list. Surely there’s some kind of alarm that gets thrown when a new Facebook account suddenly sends out dozens of new friend requests. Perhaps though it’s hard to distinguish this activity from another Facebook newbie that’s just found all their friends online.

THE_ENEMY_IS_LISTENING_250If anything, I hope this post makes you think twice about the friend requests you’re receiving and that you’re not already the type to let everyone in. I locked down my privacy settings years ago and am careful about what I share on any social media network. If you’re after more info about making your online accounts more secure, check out the articles linked below.

Remember, loose lips sink ships, which is to say that you need to scrutinize what you put out there publicly on the internet. Just assume that nothing is private and once it’s online, anyone can read it. It’s a good policy to adopt, especially if you’re in the Military, Law Enforcement or another organization that depends on OPSEC (operational security.)

Even if you’re a civilian who thinks that your life is an open book, you definitely have your own OPSEC concerns to worry about. All those places you check into online are leaving a digital footprint and waving a big flag that you’re not at home. Don’t even get me started on the stick figure family stickers on your mini van.

What security practices do you follow online? Post them up in the comments below so we can all benefit from some new ways of staying safe that we might not have thought of.

Additional Resources

Update 160201: I must be on the radar now, I just received another request below. Can you spot the resemblance with the previous friend request? The language is a dead giveaway too.

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Discussion

74 comments
guest
guest

OMG the stick figures on the minivans...  The ones with the women and kids, with no adult male really make me cringe...  NOT that women cannot take care of themselves, but there aren't nearly as many women with a defensive mindset as there are men.  It's like advertising for trouble.

RebeccaDorn
RebeccaDorn

I've been receiving multiple friend requests like these also. I post every so often to my friends that if I send them a friend request from an alternate account (especially since one of mine was compromised a couple years ago), it will come with a message that includes the last 4 digits of their phone number or a memory from the past that would only be known between us. Then they know it really is me. 

trip97
trip97

MO is not just isis.  There are foreign powers and those in the darknet that have been doing this.  They are all looking for information to compile.  Some of it is for scams to trick you out of money, other is to generate enough information to create fraud. This particular trick has been going on for years.

SwampDonkey
SwampDonkey

Dont publish mission critial information on social media and it wont be an issue. Terrorists foreign and domestic will try to gather info on you and use it to take what you have. Be smart about what you say and who you say it to.

Kimberly Siebert
Kimberly Siebert

GET SOME Lisa! I get those all the time on Skype. I love fucking with them. And got a few here on f.b. - you need to fuck with these pieces of shit.

DouglasWinston
DouglasWinston

I've gotten several.

I'm wary, especially as someone who's a 2A advocate IRL, especially when someone who i don't know personally it through friends with no expressed interest in guns suddenly appears on radar.

If their profile is empty it's what's called a clue. ;)

Christopher Whiting
Christopher Whiting

It's really simple, if you don't know them, don't add them. Hell, there are plenty of people I do know that I don't add.

cdavid1071
cdavid1071

Just because you "know" the person does not mean that the friend request is actually from that person. Verify through a phone call, text or even a FB message. You'll know within a few exchanges if it really came from someone you know.

mtbAndy
mtbAndy

I have heard from several people who have been getting these or their accounts have been spoofed. I haven't received any of these request. Then again, all I post on Facebook is cat pictures. One theme I keep seeing, the spoofed accounts tend to be from cyclist. I am a cyclist myself and a few of my cycling friends have had their accounts spoofed.

MikeJordan
MikeJordan

I literally not even a day ago was talking to a group of people about being careful of what they say for this exact reason. In some places military personnel have been forced to move back on post due to information leaks. This is a new age with new ways to attack and discover targets. People need to realize that...

Cameron Benz
Cameron Benz

I always scrutinize friend requests. The indicators you mentioned are great. I also look to see how many mutual friends we have. I look for a minimum of 10 unless I know the person or they have particular people on their friend's list.

David Stoeckl
David Stoeckl

Why not? The Feds do... Daesh may as well also. Dozens of odd friends requests, no mutuals, IPs traced to all over the place (and rarely where they say they are.)

Robert De Cherry
Robert De Cherry

That road can be traveled both ways, such as patriots posing as sympathizers of the scum of the earth in order to take them down!

Ryan Ponitz
Ryan Ponitz

I friend request Bryan a long time ago haha.

R Elijah Whosoever
R Elijah Whosoever

I know for certain that I've received at least one friend request from an FBI/DHS type person. Back then I was very active and vocal across many social platforms about the danger of Islam and potentially joining the YPG to fight AGAINST the IS. Somebody absolutely wanted a closer look at my life.

BryanWatts
BryanWatts

I've gotten about 6 today. Two seemed to be gun/shooting related but the other 4 were all race car related.

Brent Taylor
Brent Taylor

Agreed^ That doesn't mean I have to make it easy for them, though.

Tango Lima
Tango Lima

Ehhhh they are harmless...silly hadj

Brent Taylor
Brent Taylor

This is why I don't friend anyone I've never met in person

Jason Nixon
Jason Nixon

Oh shit- I'm getting them too. Time to scrub some likes from the shop page! Mark, Rick, Woody, Brent, Tango, K.m.

Olavi Lahikainen
Olavi Lahikainen

Never received one. You guys must be important assets to the nation.

Ultimate Survival Gear
Ultimate Survival Gear

NEVER click the accept button if you don't know who it is. Instead hit delete immediately. (From an IT security specialist speaking from experience)

Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson

I have been too and should be more clear yo people.

Zvonimir Brudec
Zvonimir Brudec

all this what was happen in real time space in past happen also now and is transferred in digital world/space, so always think on safety of your digital citizenship

Cathy McMahan
Cathy McMahan

I guess, they are US and Israel so why wouldn't they

Dave O'Neil
Dave O'Neil

Make use of Google's and others "reverse image search" on images related to questionably fake profiles. You will often find the same images being recycled.

Kitaf
Kitaf

Also, LOL at the "our government runs ISIS" and other similar tinfoil hat commentary. People seem to forget that the Intelligence Community is manned by American patriots who love their country and volunteered to dedicate, and in some cases, sacrifice their lives to protect it.

Kitaf
Kitaf

I don't know if you've read any of their documentation, but ISIS' online presence is typically grammatically correct; the people manning their "network army" are typically in/from the countries or cultures they're trying to reach. A more likely connection follows: did you and your buddies receiving these requests all fill out SF86's in the past 15 years?  My money is on OPM hack.


A number of cleared friends have reported receiving fake IC job recruitment e-mails in the past two weeks, as well. I'd bet dollars to donuts that they're not unconnected.

TF ODIN
TF ODIN

@Kitaf I got some way sketchy IC job related emails.  Like I couldn't close the browser type weird.  Stay well clear of those things.  

Kitaf
Kitaf

I don't know if you've read any of their documentation, but ISIS' online presence is typically articulate; the people manning their "network army" are typically in/from the countries or cultures they're trying to reach. A more likely connection follows: did you and your buddies receiving these requests all fill out SF86's in the past 15 years?  My money is on OPM hack.

A number of cleared friends have reported receiving fake IC job recruitment e-mails in the past two weeks, as well. I'd bet dollars to donuts that they're not unconnected.

ITS Tactical
ITS Tactical

Check out my update in the article, I think you'll recognize that background image. ~ Bryan

Ryan Fillman
Ryan Fillman

I'm getting them too. I leave them in friend request limbo.

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