"Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction." - Criss Jami
Ever wonder how to hack an election in the United States? Well, here's a start!
In this post, we'll talk about how to make our hypothetical candidate win with low-tech tactics. "Hacking and election", in the post, refers to influencing an election.
No, this isn't a post/guide on hacking election systems nor any other systems belonging to any entities or government systems. Please note that this post is 100% speculation/my thoughts. Any similarities (unless otherwise stated) to real-world incidents is purely coincidental. Also, I am not intending on defending/attacking any governments, countries, people, politicians, or organizations.
Know thy enemy
It's a bit cliche, sure. The saying "know thy enemy" is extremely true when it comes to deception campaigns. How can one be expected to exploit a target without knowing weaknesses or strengths? Not knowing would be silly. Doing analysis of a person's character is the main part. What are some things to look for?
- Communication mediums
- Email service, IM services
- The Past
- past political stances
- votes (historical voting data)
- Business partners
- Political partners
Before we can even start attacking, we need to know which media networks are for the opposing candidate. Additionally, we need to map out which reporters/journalists and anchors are for our opposing candidate. Once we've done this, make a list.
Aside from collecting supporters, it's important to identify how followers of both the opposing candidate and our candidate communicate and obtain information. In this case, (let's remain relevant) we're assuming that a lot of supporters use Twitter. The nice part about Twitter is that there are many services that allow you to view analytical data for hashtags and the like, for free. Did I mention many of them are free?? Now we know which keywords to use as well which people to mention in posts.
Information is power
We need to know as much as humanly possible about our opposing candidate. Unlike "knowing thy enemy", this mainly concerns communications. In the modern era, most communications are done via email and IM. The issue with that? It's stored, not everyone deletes them, and it's a single point of failure.
By employing non-advanced attacks such as phishing, we are almost guaranteed to get a victim from the opposing candidate's team (sometimes one is enough). It is extremely important to ensure that you don't attack the organization directly, as this may tip them off.
ProToxin, why would attacking non-campaign emails be more effective?
Generally speaking, campaigns in the U.S. are most likely on "high-alert" with any email they receive; they get thousands of threats, congratulations, offers, etc. Personal accounts, however, may be used without the campaign even knowing. Not to mention, how many people want their employer to see all of their emails? none. Let's not forget that most campaign members are human (sure, some might be lizard people).
The last thing someone wants to see is that their personal email account (the one they should not be using) has been being accessed by a third party. Generally, standard users go in full panic mode and don't think rationally. What if we, as an opposition, are merely sending a phishing email and our pretext is to trick the person into verifying their password to ensure their account is secure. I think this may be it! :P
- Plunder data
Get all the dirt, emails, and attachments that you possibly can. You never know what you might get. Time is of the essence here.
RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
Now that we have dirt, supporters, statistics, and a method to spread (social media)...it is time. First, start by releasing some information about the candidate on social media using some popular hashtags found on Twitter. Whatever you do, do it slow and only on a few accounts; you don't want to seem too desperate. Naturally, low-hanging fruit will retweet data and facts that they may believe is damaging or truthful (perhaps both?). Remember, our data is mostly fact, albeit with a slant.
With people falling for our click bait, we're getting facts mixed with bias out there. The more we can spread naturally, the better. You may need to release some additional information on a semi-regular basis as some groups may discover content is questionably factual.
As the masses continue to spread our content, reporters and media outlets will be forced to report on the data. With much of US media nowadays simply regurgitating data found on the Internet, they will be twisting data that we've already twisted. This allows us to assist in changing opinions of those who watch or monitor mainstream media. Remember, media is influenced by numbers; the more our data is spread the better chance of it being picked up.
Break the media
Most US media outlets are already divided...this whole hack will only help create larger divides. Not much we need to do here.
It helps to know that the USA has not always seen eye-to-eye with countries like Iran, China, and Russia. Naturally, politicians and officials will point fingers because only an "opposing government" would want to influence an election. Helps if we have VPNs and proxies with servers in those countries. :P We can be anywhere in the world!
Why on earth would you want to make it look like one of those countries? Well, that all depends on our goals and objectives. In this case, we want to destabilize trust in countries that administrations already see as questionably trustworthy. This also can create tensions; people do not like being pointed at for something they may not have done.
Regardless of who wins, this whole campaign will be found out. Burn everything you have. Secondly, this will make people question the election as well as media (maybe a secondary goal to the outcome of the election???). Now that people aren't trusting of media, this opens a window to exploit lack of trust in the future (maybe discussed in an upcoming post?).
With people no longer trusting main stream media, they will flock to social media (it's sort of a safe heaven). This will allow us to only further influence; people are now trusting other people and not news media.
And with all the king's horses and all the king's men, no one could make US media trustworthy again.
I will say that it was hilarious to start coming up with this content. Why? Because it's the same tactics the US media uses... except it's being used as a weapon for our desired election outcome. While a lot of this is high-level, it does not really need to be any lower.
None of these tactics are 'advanced'. Anyone telling you otherwise is either trying to sell you something or does not understand this realm at all.