09:36 GMT13 August 2020
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    A top secret document, disclosing how a spy unit in the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) operates within cyberspace, has for the first time been revealed by The Intercept.

    A report, titled 'Behavioural Science Support for JTRIGs Efforts and Online HUMINT [human intelligence] Operations', written in 2011 by a psychologist, Mandeep K. Dhami, details the activities of the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group [JTRIG].

    According to The Intercept: "It provides the most comprehensive and sweeping insight to date into the scope of this unit's extreme methods.

    "It describes the types of targets on which the unit focuses, the psychological and behavioral research it commissions and exploits, and its future organizational aspirations."

    The report's summary says:

    "JTRIG targets a range of individual, group and state actors across the globe who pose criminal, security and defense threats. JTRIG staff use a range of techniques to, for example, discredit, disrupt, delay, deny, degrade, and deter."

    The report — which WikiLeaks referred to as "What UK spies do to you — in their own words" — includes a section on how the unit uses social media to spy on suspected extremists.

    "The techniques include: uploading YouTube videos containing persuasive messages; establishing online aliases with Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs and forum memberships for conducting HUMINT or encouraging discussion on specific issues; sending spoof emails and text messages as well as providing spoof online resources; and setting up spoof trade sites."

    Towards the end of the 42 page report, under 'Examples of Social Influence Techniques and Other Relevant Behavioural Approaches' a list of relevant issues in advertising and marketing techniques, carried out by the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group is presented.

    It includes:

    "…branding, product placement, niche marketing, crowd sourcing, herd behavior, market segmentation, public relations, viral advertising/ marketing, internet/digital/online/web or e-marketing and advertising."

    More Snowden Docs Reveal Russian Security Company Targeted

    And more documents on how the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its UK equivalent — GCHQ — targeted one of the world's largest cyber security companies have also been unearthed by The Intercept. 

    Leaked by Edward Snowden, the information revealed shows how the US and UK government spy agencies have been targeting antivirus companies by hacking them.

    The Intercept reports that Russian security company Kaspersky Lab was "heavily targeted" by both the NSA and GCHQ — the source, whistleblower Edward Snowden. The new report says that government agencies use 'software reverse engineering' techniques to spy on cyber security companies.

    According to a top secret GCHQ warrant renewal request, written in 2008, and published by The Intercept: "Personal security products such as the Russian anti-virus software Kaspersky continue to pose a challenge to GCHQ's CNE [Computer Network Exploitation] capability and SRE [software reverse-engineering] is essential in order to be able to exploit such software and to prevent detection of our activities."


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    surveillance, snooping, report, online, software, spying, cyber security, hacking, Kaspersky Lab, National Security Agency (NSA), British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Edward Snowden, United Kingdom
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