Marines Want to Combat Fake Profiles

| August 25, 2020

According to a recent article posted by CISR4NET.com, the Marines want a tool to help identify fake social media account that mimic senior military leaders.

Marines want tool to identify fake social media accounts posing as senior personnel

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Marine Corps wants a commercial off-the-shelf tool to identify social media accounts that pose a threat to personnel and the Marines Corps Enterprise Network.

According to a request for quotation released Aug. 20, the goal of the effort is to identify “evil twin” social media accounts, or accounts pretending to be key personnel, general officers and senior executive service employees. The RFQ claimed these fake accounts are sending malicious links to service members, as well as extorting information and money while posing as key members of the Corps.

The service’s Deputy Commandant for Information Cybersecurity Branch needs an automated tool to supplement its ongoing work “crawling, discovery, and harvesting activities to protect the reputation/privacy of United State Marine Corps” on social networking sites.

I’m guessing that the only current ways to combat this are some tell-tell signs such as a low number of friends, a senior photo with the flag in the back and saying something out of character such as “me luv you long time.”

Although many senior military members have a public presence, they rarely monitor it personally.  Often it is by staff who have posted speeches, accomplishments and photos of recent ceremonial events.  When they maintain a private profile, it is difficult to tell they are even in the military according to photos and information.

Maybe I’m being short-sighted, but it is hard for me to see what is gained by these fake profiles unless there are many people that are easily fooled into giving up money in some scam.

Although many of the people behind these fake profiles are beyond U.S. jurisdiction, the way to counter this is to simply report it to Facebook or whatever the social media platform is.  They quickly go away and morph into another so it is a game of Whack-a-Mole.


Some helpful Crib Notes for the social media challenged among us:

Category: Marine Corps Poser, WTF?

Comments (12)

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  1. USAFRetired says:

    Here’s an idea. Senior Leaders don’t use social media. Pass the word through official channels not some commercial bulletin board.

  2. MarineDad61 says:

    Whack-a-Mole (Whack-a-Fake) is a perfect description.

    Worse, lower ranking active duty (and veterans)
    are dealing with having their photos stolen,
    from California to Estonia to Nigeria,
    and are used to put the pre$$ on gullible US civilians,
    mostly for cash.

    Worser, (not a word, I know, but it fits)…..
    Facebook is INCONSISTENT in the algorithms
    that receive reports on accounts as
    Fake Name, Fake Account, or Impersonating Someone Else,
    and quite often a FakeBook fakir survives 5-10 user
    “Report to Facebook” actions,
    sometimes unscathed, and sometimes (temporarily) changing to a real verified name,
    only to change (back) to a new fake name days later.
    (I’ve watched webpage URLs for FakeBook sockpuppet and imposter accounts,
    over time, from local area nutjobs who harass others.)

    Meaning, in very few cases, does Facebook ever assign a HUMAN
    to look at reported accounts, users, posts, and comments.

    Worsest, (Ha!)
    it will get worse after September 1,
    when “New Facebook” is forced on everyone (with PCs),
    making FoolBook look more like a cellphone app,
    and rearranging ALL the options, settings, and controls,
    taking away a few, and
    REMOVING the helpful ability to spot members by color,
    Blue (On Facebook, in good standing in groups),
    Gray (On Facebook, no longer a group member), or
    Black (On Facebook / blocked admin, or quit Facebook / URL inaccessible.)

    A 3rd party tool to unify things like reverse image photo search,
    locations of that photo on FakeBook (and other platforms),
    and an incorporated reporting function..
    might be necessary.

    Good article. Thanks.

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Oh, I get it! It’s not just Whack-a-mole! It’s Whack-a-criminal!!!

    I’ve been getting a certain amount of wacko stuff like that, but it’s easy enough to check the source. It’s in the sender’s data file, which shows up, whether they like it or not.

    Used to be, I’d get invitations from Russian beauties, and I thought I should send them to Dave Hardin, but the Missus would probably pound him for it, so I didn’t.

    I keep hoping I’ll get that “special” message from some space alien who only needs a couch to sleep on and 3 squares a day to stay happy….

  4. ChipNASA says:

    Have them create their profiles and posts in crayon.
    *runs*
    (I’m back. 💩🖕)

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Creating posts and profiles using crayons would cut into their supply of snacks too much. The teeth marks on the crayons would make for an uneven, smeared image.

  5. Hack Stone says:

    The only extortion of Marines that is approved is the annual Navy Marine Corps Relief Drive.

    Hack Stone Publishing approves this message.

  6. 5JC says:

    Some installations have unauthorized mirror sites. There are ways to stop these things from happening but the military is about a decade behind in cyber warfare and security.

    • Ret_25X says:

      The military is ahead of the civvies by several decades in some areas.

      However, cyber persona protection is not part of the authorized mission space.

      Finding fake profiles is the easy part.

      Finding the authority to intervene….that is a horse of a different color entirely

  7. Commissar says:

    I reported a profile that was clearly a fake account using a General’s identity. It was trying to scam people out of donations to assist service members and their families.

    It was so transparently fake and used obvious scam tactics, I expected it to be taken down after I reported it.

    Facebook said it did not violate their terms of service.

    I reported it again…

    No reply.

    Still up scamming people over a month later.

    Meanwhile, a friend of mine, had her account reported as fake by some angry internet troll. It was closed and she spent quite a bit of effort trying to get it back. Finally she ended up creating a new account using a fake name, essentially her middle and first name swapped, in order to get back on Facebook. So her real account was banned for being fake and now she was forced to use a fake account because they won’t give her real account back.

    Facebook is a joke. The community management is horrendously incompetent.

    • Ret_25X says:

      The responses of the FANG community to fraud has been one of the bright shining lies of the 2000s so far.

      But I have to add that it isn’t just the FANGsters.

      Banks seem to simply shrug at the fraud as do the USPS, SEC, FDIC, FBI, and state level orgs.

      To get a real appreciation of the level of fraud, Nearly 50% of all social media profiles may be frauds and some estimates by watch dog groups appear to rate 2/3 of all charities as frauds.

      What is the solution?

      There isn’t one that solves the whole issue–only trade offs. But a good starting point is prosecuting those cases possible.

  8. Graybeard says:

    Just commenting, not suggesting, but taking photos of the scammers severed heads and posting them on the scammers websites may serve as a deterrent to other scammers.

    Or not.

  9. Herbert J Messkit says:

    When I first read this I thought it was about fake medical profiles like “run own pace and distance”.