Chapter 6. Non-State Hackers and the Social Web

Social services such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LiveJournal are an essential part of the hacker’s toolkit. Commonly known as the Social Web, these services provide a heretofore unprecedented data store of personal information about people, companies, and governments that can be leveraged for financial crime, espionage, and disinformation by both state and non-state hackers.

In this new era of cyber warfare, the Web is both a battle space and an information space. As this chapter shows, it is also a social, educational, and support medium for hackers engaged in cyber operations of one kind or another.

This chapter also discusses security implications for employees of the U.S. government, including the Armed Services, who use social media and how their activities can put critical networks in jeopardy of being compromised by an adversary.

In addition to the giant social applications mentioned earlier are hacker forums, many of which are private or offer VIP rooms for invited members. These forums, along with blogs and websites, provide recruitment, training, coordination, and fundraising help to support the hackers’ nationalistic or religious activities. What follows is a sampling by nationality.


Social networking is very popular among Russians. A recent Comscore study shows that, as a group, Russians are the most engaged social networking audience in the world, spending an average of 6.6 hours viewing 1,307 pages per visitor ...

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