29 March 2016

Camouflage & Deception

Digital Social Life Deceptions

In today’s world, social networks are the evidence for who we are and what we are doing. It can even be used as an alibi in court.
Living far away from friends and family, I can still feel like I know everything about my friends lives. where have they been, what have they done and thought of, who they’ve been with and how their new kids look like.

Can we use this property to deceive the world, hiding our real life and real intentions with social network activity generated by a computer?

Yes, We can.

Using the Facebook Graph API and common machine learning (NLP and image processing) algorithms, I thought of 3 different deceptions that would be quite simple to create.

I call them:

  • ITO-OOO - Staying socially active when you are not.
  • F-Alter Ego - Fooling other about you identity.
  • tele-photo-porter - Flooding the web with images that are not you.

The ITO-OOO (In The Office - Out Of Office)

Imagine that I want to go on a vacation, and I want to be off-line. I also don’t want the rest of the world to know that I’ve gone on vacation. I want the rest of the world to think “business as usual”

vacation Where I am

work Where I want the world to think I am

With the ITO-OOO, my vacation hide out is really easy,:
The tool receives access to my Facebook account. It initially scans all the posts I wrote in the last 2 years. and the different images I uploaded. During the scan, the tool detects the frequency in which I post on Facebook and the type of interactions I usually post. Now, I select a location I want people to think I’m in.

The tool now manages my Facebook account. It sources images from around the web that are taken in my desired location, and adds me to them.

uploading an image of my work location
uploading an image of my work location

It sources interesting citations and uploads them randomly as my posts. It “Likes” posts of friends I previously liked, and it randomly comments a general “Awesome” or a smiley to popular posts on my feed.
uploading a smart status
uploading a smart status

random phrases from the web
random phrases from the web

So, while I can be somewhere completely different. The whole world might think I’m in Cambridge, in rainy day, thinking deep thoughts while trying to work.

There is a list of things a developer can do using Facebooks API which make the TIO-OOO very simple to implement:

  • Publish new Status Updates
  • Upload Photos, Videos and Create Photo Albums
  • Share Links
  • Respond to Events

facebook's API posting status

F-Alter Ego

fake identity

Lets say I want to travel the world. I’m probably about to meet a number of people, who I might not want to know what my real identity is. Today, a second after a new person have asked for my name, I will get a Facebook friend request. and at that moment, this person has access to my location, my friends, my history, and much more.

But what if we can automatically generate a fake identity? By scanning my Facebook profile, and creating a new fake profile, with a new name, a new address, new job, new friends and new images. I can use this name while traveling the world (or working as a secret agent) and whoever I’ll give my fake name to could think that I’m this fake person, and could verify that very easily.

Fun with friends

I can also post unreal images to my alter ego, using face detection, object detection and more image analysis, we can source the web for images of faces similar to mine, and use these faces instead. Search engines for finding the similar people to you are already easily available to the public.

people similar to me in 5 seconds

The tele-photo-porter

Using image processing algorithms, and the endless images of faces that are available online, we can simply make all our images “disappear”. Of course, I can not just remove content from websites which are not mine. So, what can we do if our pictures are wandering around in the world? We can flood the web with so many fake pictures, so the real images will not be seen anymore.

In order to do that, we will use a script that will generate html pages with the desired images and text about me, adding my name wherever possible. Then the script will post the images to different pages, and add a lot of links and Pinterest pins and other things that will fool the search engine that this is me.

Google image search