Law Enforcement on Twitter?

When the controversial Aaron Barr (former CEO of HBGary Federal) spoke at a cybersecurity conference co-hosted by the FBI, his presentation centered on the popular topic of social media. His message? It’s chock full of good intel — and if you’re not listening, you’re missing out.

He noted that law enforcement officials need to use social media, so they know how Twitter and Facebook function and so they can be early responders: “Having these accounts makes you vulnerable, but not having those accounts makes you vulnerable as well.”

But he also said that he considered people having more than 300 friends on Facebook as “promiscuous social media users.”

“You’re as protected as your weakest friend,” he warned. “The more you’re accepting friend requests from people you digitally know and don’t physically know opens you up to vulnerabilities.”

Barr knows whereof he speaks. Last year, he was hacked by “Anonymous,” and has since made a crusade out of talking about cybersecurity — which may have cost him his job at Sayers and Associates.

“The Web has empowered individuals, so it’s become a very tense place,” he said. Cases in point? Flash mobs, organized protests (like Occupy Wall Street) and other occasions where social media have “offered tools for disruption,” like Anonymous.

He cited some tools that law enforcement should be using, including “sites like Pastebin or Reddit” for real-time information that’s being posted,” Trendistic for following hashtag trends, like #OWS, and MentionMap to see correlations between Twitter users. He also cited Palantir, one of the conference’s sponsors, as a “robust platform for this type of analysis.”

When the controversial Aaron Barr (former CEO of HBGary Federal) spoke at a cybersecurity conference co-hosted by the FBI, his presentation centered on the popular topic of social media. His message? It’s chock full of good intel — and if you’re not listening, you’re missing out.

He noted that law enforcement officials need to use social media, so they know how Twitter and Facebook function and so they can be early responders: “Having these accounts makes you vulnerable, but not having those accounts makes you vulnerable as well.”

But he also said that he considered people having more than 300 friends on Facebook as “promiscuous social media users.”

“You’re as protected as your weakest friend,” he warned. “The more you’re accepting friend requests from people you digitally know and don’t physically know opens you up to vulnerabilities.”

Barr knows whereof he speaks. Last year, he was hacked by “Anonymous,” and has since made a crusade out of talking about cybersecurity — which may have cost him his job at Sayers and Associates.

“The Web has empowered individuals, so it’s become a very tense place,” he said. Cases in point? Flash mobs, organized protests (like Occupy Wall Street) and other occasions where social media have “offered tools for disruption,” like Anonymous.

He cited some tools that law enforcement should be using, including “sites like Pastebin or Reddit” for real-time information that’s being posted,” Trendistic for following hashtag trends, like #OWS, and MentionMap to see correlations between Twitter users. He also cited Palantir, one of the conference’s sponsors, as a “robust platform for this type of analysis.”

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