Virtual Honeypot

Espionage via Twitter?

Credit: Reason MagazineCredit: Reason Magazine

On Twitter, no one knows you’re a spy. In fact, no one really knows what you look like at all. So posing as a scantily clad, flirty woman who just happens to be well-connected in the national security sector takes little more than an image of an anonymous bikini-clad body on a beach. 

When a Twitter user going by the handle “1st Lady of Missiles” first showed up on the service, she picked an alluring photo of a young woman in a skimpy bathing suit. Later, under a different account named PrimorisEra, she used a photo of a woman’s chest, draped in long brown hair with one shoulder exposed. 

Under her various accounts, she claimed to be working with both the CIA and the Pentagon. As Spencer Ackerman reported for Wired in April, it didn’t take long before the user built up a following among defense policy professionals, some of whom now say she used her Twitter connections to ask for sensitive information about security operations. 

The woman, who sometimes went by the name Shawna Gorman, was eventually accused of being a “honeypot”: a spy who uses sex appeal to get others to reveal secret information. The Pentagon launched an investigation into her online interactions at the end of April.  

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  • WTF||

    [...]takes little more than an image of an anonymous bikini-clad body on a beach

    So why do we get a photo of Mike Myers acting like a douchebag?

  • ||

    Acting?

  • ­||

    "Do I make you horny, baby?" I think is what they were trying to invoke.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    MI6 has it right. A tuxedo, a martini (shaken not stirred) and a tricked out Aston Martin, and the British agent has Pussy Galore. The CIA hires morons who have to troll Twitter looking for tail.

  • ||

    This. Obviously.

  • pmains||

    The Pentagon launched an investigation into her online interactions at the end of April.

    And their investigation revealed that it was a dude. I get it. Isn't there supposed to be more to this story, though? I feel like it ends abruptly.

  • Almanian||

    Yeah - I felt like it suddenly said "The End".

  • Jim||

    Ironically, it turns out the Twitter user is a lesbian spy from Syria.

  • ||

    You had me at "scantily clad."

  • Fred||

    W. T. F.

  • Anoynmous Coward||

    it didn’t take long before the user built up a following among defense policy professionals, some of whom now say she used her Twitter connections to ask for sensitive information about security operations.

    HAI GAIS! GIMME UR SEKUR INFO?

    The government is full of morons.

  • cynical||

    It doesn't say they gave it to her.

  • Almanian||

    I submit to you that Anonymous' statement still stands.

  • Anoynmous Coward||

    cynical, if I had a security clearance and saw a twitter account named "1st Lady of Missiles" claiming to work in national security with a picture of sexy legs, I'm thinking one of two things:

    1. Dumbass bimbo.

    2. Dude/troll.

  • ||

    If you had a security clearance of any type and were to be found with acquaintances who were prying for that kind of information, your security clearance would be immediately revoked by the FBI.

  • Rob||

    Thomas Ryan was a security consultant who did a presentation at DEFCON, or another security conference in 2010, where he outlined how he used a fake Facebook profile to build connections to people in the CIA, DoD, Pentagon, etc. The point of the exercise was to show how social engineering could be used to attack sensitive targets. More details at http://www.securitymanagement......age-007409

  • Paul||

    According to the article by Shaun Waterman, security consultant Thomas Ryan set up a handful of personal profiles on social networking sites Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter featuring a gorgeous—and fictitious—young woman purporting to be an analyst at the U.S. Navy's Network Warfare Command.

    Ryan named his character “Robin Sage,” and posted to her profiles relatively tame photos of a young Asian model from an amateur pornography site, according to the article.

    Are you fucking serious?

    “Within less than a month, she amassed nearly 300 social-network connections among security specialists, military personnel and staff at intelligence agencies and defense contractors,” Ryan wrote. Not only did the profiles attract "friends," but also invitations to dinner and recommendations to apply within the defense and intelligence sectors. One member of the military deployed overseas shared a photograph tagged with the location of where it was taken. A contractor at the National Reconnaissance Office who befriended Sage revealed answers to the security questions of his personal e-mail account by setting up his profile wrong.

    So this just means that our security and military personnel can be socially engineered.

    Facebook and twitter aren't the problem the problem, it's the users that are the problem.

  • Rob||

    I'm about halfway through my studies for an information assurance degree, and the one thing we keep covering is how end users will always be the weakest point in your network. No matter how many locks you put on the door, someone can always open it from the inside.

  • Some Guy||

    A contractor at the National Reconnaissance Office who befriended Sage revealed answers to the security questions of his personal e-mail account by setting up his profile wrong.

    Never use valid information for those things. Just pick out a nonsense phrase and use it as the answer to all of them.

  • Tony Weiner||

    On Twitter, no one knows you’re a spy. In fact, writes Associate Editor Peter Suderman, no one really knows what you look like at all.

    If only.

  • ||

    Hey, we missed you!!

    I was hoping for another daily dose of your many penis-pressers. I dreamed last night you had another presser, and strippers showed up to heckle you, and threw their panties and bras at you.

    Then I woke up.

    Come back!! We miss you!!! All the other politician dweebs are boring!!!

  • Almanian||

    All your spy secrets are belong to us.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Unfortunately, the Pentagon is citing this (along with other "security breaches") as evidence of why they need to spend a lot of money to combat "cyberwar".

  • Joshua||

    If they spent money on that instead of bombing the entire middle east, I'd call it a bargain!

  • ||

    "Hey, that's what rich people eat, the garbage parts of the food."

  • ||

    THATS NOT WHAT A HONEYPOT IS!
    A honeypot is when you make someone think they succeeded at espionage as a way of counter espionage. For example: fake shell accounts on a server so when people hack into the server they think they succeeded, when reality they haven't

  • Number 2||

    I think they meant "honey trap." But even that term may not fully apply - it refers to enticing someone into an embarrassing or illicit sexual relationship in order to blackmail him.

  • Valerie Plame||

    If you tickle my cootch, I'll tell you whatever you want to know. On the first date even.

  • Kolohe||

    Fwiw, these guys (http://www.informationdissemination.net/) who are all pro or semi-pro military analysts think she is real

    but, on the other hand she's only had one post since her intro post, and it was critically panned

  • LTEC||

    Some do, some don't.
    Note however that Galrahn -- who appears to run the site -- says he knows she's real because he knows someone who knows her.

    As Bill Cosby (as Noah) would say: Righhhhhhht.

  • Zoe Brain||

    OK, so I'm a Rocket Scientist and sometime Naval Combat System architect.

    But anything remotely sensitive, we don't talk about - I'd have to fill in a security report. Been there, done that, when a guy e-mailed me something that shouldn't have gone over an open channel. Not my fault, but I got a grilling I'll never forget.

    Then again, I'm 53 not 28, and built more like Xena than Gabrielle. A perfect 10 - but only in binary. See what I mean?

  • Joshua||

    I'm surprised they let you wear sandals in the defense industry.

  • SIV||

    They don't discriminate against the transgendered hermaphrodites.

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  • infocyde||

    Ha, she was posting on information dissemination for a bit too... http://www.informationdissemin.....s-era.html

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