It seems that a single man can deceive the authorities and even the FBI! This is the case with a man from Tennessee, David C. Garrett Jr. and his will to expose how alarmingly easy it can be for the FBI to initiate rumours and other media to spread them, without confirming their validity.
A few days back, there was a rumour as to CNN being under threat of hacking. This rumour was based on a paper that the FBI released. Allegedly, the Sony hackers named “Guardians of Peace” sent over proof to the FBI with their information on the hacking that would be completed soon.
Without even trying to cross check the Pastebin post that was supposed to come from the hackers, the FBI released a bulletin about the threat that the media was under. In this bulletin, Sony was referred to as USPER 1 and the news organization that would be hacked was referred to as USPER 2. Along with these two different threats, there was clear statement that it was more than possible for more threats to emerge in the near future.
The truth, though, is miles away and David C. Garrett Jr. from Tennessee revealed what was the case. More particularly, David posted the proof online about the lack of trustworthiness that should alarm everyone regarding Pastebin posts.
The hoax that he had launched was the most eloquent proof of the fact that nobody investigates and validates anything before publishing. What he did was to replace the reference of the initial so-called reliable Pastebin post about FBI (which the CNN used) with CNN and then add the name of Wolf Blitzer. The latter was added, in order to make the threat more substantial and believable. This is it! Nobody verified the truth behind the threats or even tried to locate the sender of the messages.
Garrett commented on both Twitter and Facebook about the overall impact that his prank had: “It was a joke… I had no idea it would be taken seriously.” Nevertheless, besides the surprise, it is evident that more attention should be drawn to things prior to their release to the public. Especially by news organizations, such as CNN, with credibility and influence to people everywhere in the world, this should be made a top priority, according to David C. Garrett Jr.
Ali Qamar is a Cyber Security Researcher, Follow him on Twitter @AliQammar57