Update: How the Media Cooks News: Kuwaiti security firm writes a guide to Cyber Security for Gaza Journalists, Wired and other Media writes it up as ‘ISIS OPSEC manual’ !

23 Nov, 2015


Update: CyberKov issues a statement regarding the issue at the end of the post.

There are some positive things about the US and Western lead Alliance war against the Islamic State which started more than a year ago directly after it was carried indirectly by proxies.

One of these positive things is that the war exposes the media in the Arab and Western world about the lies they spread and the news they cook about IS, meaning if the lie about IS they can lie about anything specially anyone who is in opposition of the Western governments like Wikileaks and Edward Snowdon.

One of the recently cooked news is a story by a well respected tech magazine wired title “ISIS’ OPSEC Manual Reveals How It Handles Cybersecurity”

In it “Aaron Brantly and other researchers with the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point’s military academy uncovered the manual and other related documents from ISIS forums, social accounts and chat rooms.
The originals are in Arabic, but the center provided WIRED with translated versions of a number of documents that had been passed through Google Translate.1”

Turned out that this manual was written by Kuwait cyber security firm CyberKov in its blog in Dec2014 as guide for Gaza activists and Journalists.

CyberKov CEO tweeted that Wired and the Telegraph has used a post written by me that it is coming from ISIS we contacted them and they fixed” but it was not that fix.

So basically to justify an end to encryption and online privacy by the Western governments, a US military research center in complication with the tech media are cooking news just to prove that ISIS use encryption in their operation!

Wired updated the story with the following “UPDATE 11/21/2015: This story has been updated to identify the original source of the document—a Kuwaiti security firm—and the original reason for its creation.”

Even though wired updated its article it did not update the title, and the theme of the story goes around that it is an ISIS manual or ISIS use it without any proof.

This is not professional journalism, this is cooking the news. Wired should update the title of the post and the whole body to reflect the truth that it is not
an IS manual.

A number of Western media and even International ones run the same story, which gives you an evidence of the lies and story cooking in the media whether they are tech or political.

Update: CyberKov statement

Official Statement Regarding Media Confusion on Cyberkov Journalist Cybersecurity Manual>

For the past few days, many articles around the world started referencing an alleged ISIS OPSEC manual that is claimed to be unearthed by the U.S Military Academy Combating Terrorism Center at West Point by Dr. Aaron Brantly and other researchers. The first mention of this manual (and the most widespread so far) was Kim Zetter’s WIRED article (ISIS’ OPSEC Manual Reveals How It Handles Cybersecurity). The original claim was that this manual was written by ISIS as its cyber security policy for its fighters.

The false story about the manual spread all over the globe, being referenced by US, UK, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Greek, South Korean and even Vietnamese media. We were stunned by the scale and speed with which the story propagated throughout the web, and even though we have made contact with many reporters to correct the mistake, we believe an official statement is obligatory.

The alleged ISIS manual is in reality Cyberkov’s own security manual for journalists and activists written in July 2014. The original manual can be found here, and its main goal is to assist journalists and activists (especially those working in warzones like Gaza) protect their digital identity, their sources and their core ability to provide free flow of information to the rest of the world.

The file linked by the WIRED’s article links to a modified copy of the manual hosted in JustPasteIt. It was apparently uploaded by a Gaza resident. The article was modified from its original form, however it still contained some links to Cyberkov’s blog. Not only is the article completely devoid of any ISIS references, but it came as a shock to us to discover the Combating Terrorism Center did not have any proper Arabic translators on board; instead running the article through Google Translate!

We believe it is a significant hit to the Center’s reputation, accuracy and professionalism that they couldn’t differentiate between ISIS and journalism manuals; and that they simply accepted Google Translate as a proper method to translate and set judgement in such sensitive topic. We simply hope the rest of the world’s think tanks are utilizing better non-amateur methods of information extraction.

We also think it’s very unfortunate that globally-acclaimed news agencies and world-class reporters are unable to perform proper analysis and verification on their stories. Unfortunately, such a false report comes right as world governments are trying their best to ban encryption by falsely associating it with criminal and terrorist organizations. Instead of propagating negative articles about the use of encryption, Journalists should be on the forefront of defending encryption, seeing as how it provides critical protection for them and their sources.
What is Cyberkov?

Cyberkov is a Kuwaiti cyber security firm, providing cyber security services to banks, telecom providers, government entities and non-profit privacy-driven organizations. Cyberkov runs an awareness and privacy blog at blog.cyberkov.com.


#image from Cyberkov blog.

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  1. Sunday Assorted Links | Marginal Counterrevolution  |  December 13th, 2015 at 8:39 AM #

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