by admin on February 4, 2010
In certain types of information warfare campaigns a powerful component is the false website. It’s versatile tool that can be used to establish credibility for an operation, or as a way to disseminate memes into the zeitgeist or even as a sophisticated honey-pot to lure a targeted group in. However setting up such websites can leave quite a paper trail for investigators to follow which can lead to detection of the origin of the campaign and it’s perpetrators.
A lot of false websites are really just small organized crime with phishing scams. These websites are setup from other countries with stolen credit cards. The cards can usually be tracked down and help become a fingerprint that identifies the culprit – but most law enforcement agencies don’t have the resources to take the fight that far except for the largest cases.
Enter the Gift Credit Card – offered by the 3 giants of the credit card industry – Visa, Amex and Mastercard. You can walk into a Duane Reade with no ID and purchase a $5000 gift credit card that is registered to no address or name.
Using these cards, one could acquire the resources for websites, hosting and email and other online services ( phone, fax, voice mail, etc )that require credit cards relatively anonymously of course being careful where one originates one’s data calls to the network from.
They are small and can be used to move cash to other countries rapidly, where as being caught travelling internationally with 10k plus in cash could be tricky – 5 or 10 gift credit cards purchased at 5k a piece will not be noticed for the moment by customs – so that one could purchase services from a remote location exterior to the states with US dollars via a credit card instrument that these services require.
These cards represent a cash cow [ estimates are it is approaching a $100 Billion dollar business and growing ] and the banking/credit card industry is a powerful lobby so they aren’t going away any time soon. Much to the chagrin of the one or two Senators raising the alarm – there is no political will currently to modify the system.
While the secret is out about these cards [ Multi-agency report on fiscal instruments including gift cards ] , accountability for their usage is quite far off and for the present time remain a powerful tool for initiating clean information warfare campaigns that include fictitious websites as a component of the strategy and they also make great gifts!