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A former FBI Special Agent, U.S. Army officer and leading cyber-security expert offers a devastating and essential look at the misinformation campaigns, fake news, and electronic espionage operations that have become the cutting edge of modern warfareâand how we can protect ourselves and our country against them.
Clint Watts electrified the nation when he testified in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. InÂ Messing with the Enemy,Â the counterterrorism, cybersecurity and homeland security expert introduces us to a frightening world in which terrorists and cyber criminals donât hack your computer, they hack your mind. Watts reveals how these malefactors use your social media information and that of your family, friends and colleagues to map your social networks, identify your vulnerabilities, master your fears and harness your preferences.
Thanks to the schemes engineered by social media manipulators using you and your information, business executives have coughed up millions in fraudulent wire transfers, seemingly good kids have joined the Islamic State, and staunch anti-communist Reagan Republicans have cheered the Russian governmentâs hacking of a Democratic presidential candidateâs e-mails. Watts knows how they do it because heâs mirrored their methods to understand their intentions, combat their actions, and coopt their efforts.
Watts examines a range of social media platformsâfrom the first Internet forums to the current titans of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedInâand nefarious actorsâfrom al Qaeda to the Islamic State to the Russian social media troll farmâto illuminate exactly how they use Western social media for their nefarious purposes. He explains how heâs learned, through his successes and his failures, to engage with hackers, terrorists, and even the Russiansâand how these interactions have generated methods for fighting back against those that seek to harm people on the Internet. He concludes with a snapshot of how advances in artificial intelligence will make future influence even more effective and dangerous to social media users and democratic governments worldwide. Shocking, funny, and eye-opening,Â Messing with the EnemyÂ is a deeply urgent guide for living safe and smart in a super-connected world.
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