Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Bellingcat: OSINT Playing Games Where People Tend To Get Burned and Dead

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Recently there has been a lot of hubbub about Bellingcat pivoting from tracking military movements and downed planes to exposing GRU operatives who have carried out poisoning operations in the UK. Personally I have watched with a mix of trepidation and angst over what they have been doing recently with the liquidators they have fingered for the Skripal poisonings. I have mixed feelings on all this because while I think they may in fact be right, they could also be being used by their “sources” in Russia as well as possibly be used in future to their detriment by Russia and other nation state services for disinformation operations. Even worse, this group and their OSINT could in fact get in the way of real operations by those same services of friendly nations and could endanger themselves if not others in the field by dropping these bits of intel.

OSINT is a new flavor of the day in the information security world but it has been a long standing practice in certain circles in the other community. The difference here is that the OSINT carried out before was by trained individuals within the intelligence community and not put out for general consumption for the world at large. Today, we have Bellingcat dropping all kinds of data that may or may not be correct that is messing directly with operations by a rogue nation (Russia) and a dictator (Putin) that has no compunction about just killing off the people who oppose him enough to cause him heartburn. This is the big difference here and I just want Bellingcat to take that into account as they do what they seem to be doing with regard to GRU ops. As far as I know, the people who work for Bellingcat are not former intel community, maybe there are some, someone can let me know, but you have to consider that the majority of the people there are not spooks and might be out of their depth in this regard.

Additionally, I would like to reiterate that these discoveries could be actually disinformation provided to you all by services like the SVR to hurt the GRU too. In the world of espionage you are forced to live in the wilderness of mirrors kids. Intelligence analysis is a real art and I am just not so sure your carrying it out completely with these dumps on the GRU carefully considering that fact. Just please consider that you are being played now and if not now, you will be in the future to your detriment by nation state actors for their own goals. That said, please take everything some group gives you so handily, even if the data is in fact correct, as a possible dangle or disinformation operation before you just dump it to the BBC.

Lastly, let me just say again in rather plain language, playing this game can get you dead. Russia is at a point with Putin that they just don’t give a fuck and if you are in their way, and enough of a problem, they will destroy you or kill you. Just look at Sergei and his daughter! Or for that matter, look at Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, and more than a few other impediments that Putin got rid of. It may not happen now, but I can assure you if you piss them off too much, you will get their unwanted attention.

Just a caution….

Oh, and while I am talking about deaths, it seems that a relative of one of the assassins has been perhaps made missing or killed in Russia as well. So, you all have to consider the possibilities of your hubris in what you do in the form of innocent collateral damage to others.

Just sayin…

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2018/10/09 at 20:18

Posted in .gov, .mil, OSINT, Spooks

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