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Don’t Let Sock Puppets Compromise Your Security

By Tom Seest

Are Sock Puppets Putting Your Cyber Security At Risk?

At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.

Sock puppets are elaborate fake social media accounts designed for OSINT purposes without betraying their creator’s true identity, often used by security researchers and investigative journalists.
Create a sock puppet by developing a persona and convincing backstory, then using an email account such as ProtonMail to set up a basic social media sock puppet account. Use free Wi-Fi connections when signing in so your account won’t get flagged by platforms.

Are Sock Puppets Putting Your Cyber Security At Risk?

Are Sock Puppets Putting Your Cyber Security At Risk?

Who is Behind the Mask?

A sock puppet is an online identity created for purposes of deception and used to praise, defend, or support an individual or organization, manipulate public opinion, or bypass restrictions such as blocking social media accounts – an often-referred practice known as “block evasion.”
OSINT investigators often employ sock puppets for passive and active open-source research and collection. Their purpose is to protect operational security (OPSEC), privacy and protect identities when using social media accounts to conduct their investigations; OSINT investigators should use one with limited information about themselves to conduct their research.
Establishing a convincing sock puppet persona takes time and can be challenging; however, the more convincing your persona is, the harder it will be for others to associate your identity back to real-world investigator. Therefore, when creating a sock puppet account it is advised that you use VPN, TOR, or public Wi-Fi services to maintain anonymity and prevent direct IP linking back to real identities.
OSINT investigators typically rely on passive open-source research, while some use sock accounts for both passive and active reconnaissance. This allows them to interact with targets while collecting additional intelligence about them. While most OSINT investigators will use one sock puppet account for both passive and active reconnaissance purposes, it’s essential that each of your accounts serves its intended purpose properly.
If you are researching an individual or group, for instance, using sock accounts tailored to their interests and personal demographics will allow you to better understand their motivations and attributions. Furthermore, ensure your sock puppets all have different names and email addresses, making it more difficult for other people to link your puppets back to you, and together, they make up the truthful picture of who the real you are.
OSINT investigators should take great care in managing their personal and work research accounts to maintain OPSEC and preserve the integrity of their investigations. Sharing accounts could reveal your identity to target/s, possibly leading to retaliation against yourself or being identified on certain platforms due to friend recommendations or personal details about an investigator.

Who is Behind the Mask?

Who is Behind the Mask?

What are the Consequences?

As a security professional, it is your duty to safeguard confidential information for both yourself and your clients from data breaches. One way you can do this is by setting strong passwords with two-factor authentication for accounts; password managers can help keep track of them, too! You should avoid using personal names or locations as passwords while making sure not to reuse one password across multiple accounts. You should also practice good operational security (OPSEC).
OPSEC (Operational Security & Critical Environment Control) is a military concept adopted by other organizations and industries to secure sensitive information. The process entails assessing potential threats, vulnerabilities, and risks related to sensitive data – this analysis can be accomplished via threat modeling tools as well as vulnerability and risk evaluation platforms.
Practice good OPSEC to avoid making errors during OSINT research. Some common OPSEC errors include sharing too much personal data on social media, leaving unneeded profiles online, and not segregating your personal and research accounts properly – mistakes that give bad actors access to useful intelligence about your activities.
Sock puppets are online identities used to conceal the identity of OSINT investigators. Creating these pseudo-personas allows an OSINT analyst to access content on websites requiring user accounts without breaching their Terms of Service policies; it is wise, however, to read each website’s TOS before creating these puppets.
OPSEC begins with identifying information that could be compromised by an adversary. This begins by establishing the scope of your operations; next you can determine which information is most vulnerable and develop countermeasures to protect it; finally you can use these to protect itself.
As part of your sock puppet security strategy, it is advisable to utilize VPN and TOR when creating them. This will protect against being identified through IP addresses or platform flagging accounts created with these services. It is also beneficial to create multiple puppet accounts on different platforms so as not to create links between accounts that could lead back to one another and consistent behavior between your puppet persona and real-life personas.

What are the Consequences?

What are the Consequences?

Who is Behind the Curtain?

When conducting OSINT research and passive reconnaissance, it’s a smart move to set up sock puppet accounts to separate your work and personal life – this practice of OPSEC (Operational Security). Doing this helps protect you from accidentally revealing your real identity, which could prompt targeted parties to respond with counterintelligence measures, resulting in knowing who is conducting investigations against them and even leading them back at you!
An investigator using a sock puppet account can use fake names and images to quickly build trust with his/her target, especially when targeting high-profile individuals. Furthermore, using one can facilitate gathering information that would otherwise be hard to come by.
However, sock puppets aren’t foolproof: targets may discover the true identity of their puppet through IP addresses and public profiles. Therefore, it is crucial that a plan be put in place for creating an ideal persona that will thwart any initial suspicions from targets; ideally, this should happen prior to the first interaction between puppet and target, and only trusted networks should use sock puppets.
Reconnaissance involves conducting a detailed review of an organization and website to assess any vulnerabilities present. HTTrack makes this possible by creating page-by-page copies of targeted websites; with this information in hand, sock puppets that mimic them and identify vulnerabilities can then be created using HTTrack’s page-by-page copy functionality.
Reconnaissance should include studying your target’s social media accounts to learn who their associates are – this will allow you to detect any possible spies who may share common friends with their targets and eavesdroppers who could potentially pose as them.
Recent trends include government-paid operatives that push public opinion in certain directions, usually via so-called sock puppets that are controlled by one or a small number of individuals and which reach thousands, even millions, through social media posts – an extremely powerful weapon when wielded maliciously by malcontents.

Who is Behind the Curtain?

Who is Behind the Curtain?

Who is Behind the Sock Puppet Accounts?

Sock puppet accounts are widely known outside the information security field as tools used by malicious actors to shape group opinions. Their uses range from spreading misinformation or creating fear, uncertainty and doubt among members to spreading threats or spreading fake news; whether benign or malicious in their intentions they can be found anywhere from social media platforms and forums to blogs devoted to particular points of views with notable concern trolls present who profess their concerns publicly in an attempt to influence members actions or opinions through professing these concerns publicly in online spaces devoted to such purposes they can cause disruptions within groups – or they can even create disinformation tools with which malicious actors seek control over group opinions they wish they can influence by spreading falsehoods that can then be used against groups; they can then either cause such disinformation by spreading misinformations spread by spreading misinformation or spreading disinformations spread by malicious actors who seek control by spread misinformation or creating fear uncertainty doubt within groups by spreading misinformations being posted for other reasons than spreading disinformation or spreading falsehoods over time and doubt in another group’s forum thread thread and attempts trolls are common on social media sites and forums dedicated to certain causes such as concern trolls who post threads dedicated to specific points of views while profesing concerns publicly expressed by trying to sway other members’ actions or opinions by profesing this way or another means of manipulation by profesing concerns voiced publicly or else they use social media channels like forums as means of control of an action by other means as dissing information or posting the other’s platform, making their concern voiced publicly when other forum.
OSINT investigators often utilize sock puppet accounts in order to conduct research without disclosing their real identities and protect privacy and OPSEC while avoiding having their investigations flagged by targets or other researchers. However, creating such accounts could violate some websites’ terms of service; furthermore, it is also essential that any research being conducted be legal.
ProtonMail recommends creating a separate email account for your sock puppet; this is important because many social media platforms require this in order to open an account. Once you have an email account in place, create your sock puppet account using ProtonMail so you can interact with and analyze their network from this account. Ideally, make your sock puppet as realistic as possible by including a valid email address, a photo that does not resemble you personally, public posts, and some form of anonymity through VPN use, if possible.
Making a sock puppet can be challenging for those new to cyber investigations. To maximize success, it is vital to develop a fake persona with details including name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, weight and height; gender (if appropriate); weight (weight less for female accounts than for male ones), and other information. Sock puppeteers should aim for female accounts as these are more likely to be accepted by social media users; additionally, it’s crucial that strong passwords and backup plans exist should the account become compromised.

Who is Behind the Sock Puppet Accounts?

Who is Behind the Sock Puppet Accounts?

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