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jerryking : deception   18

What meeting Bernie Madoff taught me about our inability to read others
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Books:
Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell.
The Human Swarm, by Mark Moffett.

Malcolm Gladwell, the writer, earned fame — and fortune — by producing books such as The Tipping Point (2000) that popularised human psychology. In his new study, Talking to Strangers, he looks at our propensity to misread other people. It is an increasingly pressing question for our polarised, fake-news era.

How should we interpret the signals we receive from others? This matters when it comes to detecting fraud, of course......It also matters in other ways. Today more than ever, we all suffer if we misread the signals we receive from different social groups. It is human nature to assume our own culture is the definition of “normal”, and to use this lens when we view others.....even traits that we assume are ­“universal”, such as [jck: visual cues] facial expressions, can vary hugely between cultures — and, of course, within societies that speak the same language.

Gladwell describes, for example, how social interactions between black and white communities in America are regularly marred by misunderstandings, with tragic consequences. “[This] is what happens when a society does not know how to talk to strangers,” he concludes.......Moffett then advances two broader points. First, he argues that humans (like ants) need a sense of tribal identity and belonging, with specialisations clearly defined; but, second, he insists that the way humans develop this tribal identity is crucially different from other animals.

Among some species, such as chimpanzees, trust only emerges through face-to-face contact between individuals in small groups; in others, creatures only co-operate if they can be instantly identified as coming from the same species. Ants kill anything that smells different.....what is amazing about humans – albeit rarely celebrated – is how we generally tolerate outsiders ­without instantly needing to kill them.

“Being comfortable around unfamiliar members of our society gave humans advantages from the get-go and made nations possible,” Moffett writes. “Chimpanzees need to know everybody [to ­tolerate them]. Ants need to know nobody. Humans only need to know somebody [for society to function.]” This achievement deserves far more attention, since it only works in two conditions. First, humans must feel secure in their own group (which they signal with symbols and rituals); second, “strangers” can only be smoothly absorbed if everyone learns to read different symbols too....If we want to “talk to strangers”, we need to teach our kids (and ourselves) to try to look at the world through strangers’ eyes – even if we must also recognise that we will never truly succeed.
assumptions  Bernard_Madoff  books  character_traits  cultural_identity  deception  Gillian_Tett  misinterpretations  psychopaths  signals  strangers  tribes  group_identity  lying  Malcolm_Gladwell  misjudgement  psychology  trustworthiness  visual_cues  writers 
october 2019 by jerryking
What You Need to Know to Pick an IPO
April 7, 2019 | WSJ | By Andy Kessler.
Dig up dirt on the competition and board members, and buy to hold long-term.......How do you know which IPOs to buy? No, not to trade—you’d never get it right. Lyft priced at $72, traded at $85 on its first day, then closed at $78, only to fall to $67 on its second day. It’s now $74. I’m talking about buying and holding for a few years. Yes I know, how quaint.

The trick is to read the prospectus. What are you, crazy? That’s a couple hundred pages. Well, not the whole thing. But remember, where the stock trades on its first day is noise....... So understanding long-term prospects are critical. Here are a few shortcuts.

(1) First, glance at the underwriters along the bottom of the cover. On the top line are the banks putting their reputation on the line. If the one on the far left is Goldman Sachs , Morgan Stanley or JPMorgan , you’re probably OK.
(2) open the management section and study the directors. Forget the venture capitalists or strategic partners with board seats—they have their own agendas. Non-employee directors are the ones who are supposed to be representing you, the public investor. And their value depends on their experience.
(3) OK, now figure out what the company does. You can watch the roadshow video, look at prospectus pictures, and skim the offering’s Business section. Now ignore most of that. Underwriters are often terrible at positioning companies to the market.......when positioning companies, only three things matter: a monster market; an unfair competitive advantage like patents, algorithms or a network effect; and a business model to leverage that advantage. Look for those. If you can’t find them, pass. Commodities crumble........read the Management’s Discussion and Analysis. Companies are forced to give detailed descriptions of each of their sectors and products or services. Then flip back and forth to the Financials, looking at the items on the income statement and matching them up with the operations being discussed. Figure out what the company might look like in five years. And use my “10x” rule: Lyft is worth $25 billion—can they make $2.5 billion after-tax someday? Finally there’s the Risk section, which is mostly boilerplate but can contain good dirt on competition.
(4) Put the prospectus away and save it as a souvenir. Try to figure out the real story of the company. Do some digging.
(5) My final advice: Never, ever put in a market order for shares on the first day of an IPO.
10x  advice  algorithms  Andy_Kessler  boards_&_directors_&_governance  business_models  competitive_advantage  deception  due_diligence  howto  IPOs  large_markets  long-term  Lyft  network_effects  noise  patents  positioning  prospectuses  risks  stock_picking  think_threes  Uber  underwriting  unfair_advantages 
april 2019 by jerryking
The Offbeat Genius of a Great American Spy - WSJ
By Sam Walker
Jan. 26, 2019

this experiment in deception and illusion became the central pillar of a unique operational mindset known as “the Moscow Rules.” By learning to outfox the KGB, the Moscow station not only connected with TRIGON, it scored some the biggest espionage coups in American history.
CIA  deception  espionage  illusions  obituaries  security_&_intelligence  spycraft 
january 2019 by jerryking
Why is America so bad at information wars?
JULY 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett.

In his new book Messing With the Enemy, Clint Watts, a former FBI agent, describes this exchange as the first “international-terrorist-versus-counter-terrorist Twitter battle”......One way to make sense of today’s extraordinary cyber battles with the Russians is to look at how jihadi groups developed such campaigns years earlier — not least because this oft-ignored parallel shows how the US government has done a poor job fighting its enemies in cyberspace. “America sucks at information warfare,” Watts laments. “Absolutely sucks.”.....US officials attempted to fight back against Isis’s social media campaigns. Watts reveals that in 2013 while at the FBI — and later as a security consultant — he engaged in a long Twitter duel with American-born terrorist Omar Hammami. Other US intelligence groups tried to develop psychological-operations campaigns to fight the extremists. Some of the experimental techniques used to profile social media users were later deployed in the ad-tech industry by companies such as Cambridge Analytica.

However, the US military was simply too bureaucratic, slow moving and rule-laden to match its enemies. And the country that seemed to learn the most from the social media extremists was Russia: Watts describes how he inadvertently witnessed Russian-backed groups populating American social media from the autumn of 2015 onwards, copying some of the tactics of the Islamists....Watts’s proposed remedy is just as startling: he believes that US government agencies are now so ill-equipped to fight in these type of social media wars that it is time for non-government groups to take the lead instead.....many leading figures in Silicon Valley furtively express similar views. Indeed, some appear to be quietly funding civilian “volunteers” to do exactly what Watts suggests: namely, hunt for ways to counter Russian attacks by infiltrating enemy cyber groups.

Who knows whether this type of grass-roots action will work, or how widespread it might be — everything is deeply murky in the arena of cyberspace and information wars.
Gillian_Tett  information_warfare  U.S.  security_&_intelligence  Twitter  al-Shabab  books  cyber_warfare  Russians  hackers  Russia  disinformation  persuasion  trolls  politics  delegitimization  destabilization  deception  infiltration 
july 2018 by jerryking
How Vladimir Putin mastered the cyber disinformation war
February 18, 2018 | FT | by Andrei Soldatov.

outsourcing cyber disinformation campaigns has become a tactic used by Russia to create plausible deniability and lower the costs and risks of controversial overseas operations. Today, Kremlin-backed cyber campaigns have an unorthodox chain of command. It is one in which non-state actors — primarily businessmen with personal ties to important figures in the Kremlin — call the shots, not, as in western cyber operations, the electronic and signals intelligence gathering wings of the army and government agencies.
Vladimir_Putin  Robert_Mueller  indictments  Russia  disinformation  persuasion  trolls  politics  delegitimization  destabilization  deception  cyber_warfare  information_warfare  Kremlin 
february 2018 by jerryking
Putin Sees a Happy New Year - The New York Times
By MICHAEL KHODARKOVSKYDEC. 26, 2016

Today, Mr. Putin focuses the shrinking resources of a beleaguered Russian economy on the twin agendas of restoring Russia’s position among the world’s powers and undermining Western institutions. For him it is a zero sum game. Moscow can easily deploy thousands of hackers and trolls to achieve maximum disruption while Western democracies awaken too slowly to the dangers. And the dangers are grave. From state-sponsored mass doping in sports to corrosive business practices, from silencing political dissent at home to supporting brutal regimes abroad, Russia’s policies are rooted in deceit, graft and violence — a combination that presents an existential challenge to democracies.....This is not routine cyber intelligence, which many nations practice. Russia’s cyber activity seeks to confuse, destabilize and ultimately bring to power foreign governments pliant to Russia’s aims. That is an attack on the values and institutions of democratic societies, and, if successful, it achieves the same result as a military invasion to install a new government.
Russia  Vladimir_Putin  cyber_warfare  disinformation  destabilization  security_&_intelligence  propaganda  deception  zero-sum_games  offensive_tactics 
december 2016 by jerryking
Putin Is Waging Information Warfare. Here’s How to Fight Back. - The New York Times
By MARK GALEOTTIDEC. 14, 2016

the United States and its allies should pursue a strategy of deterrence by denial. Mr. Putin shouldn’t fear retaliation for his information warfare — he should fear that he will fail.

There are several ways to go about this. First, United States institutions need better cybersecurity defenses. Political parties and major newspapers are now targets just as much as the power grid and the Pentagon are. The government has to help provide security when it can — but people have a duty to be more vigilant and recognize that their cybersecurity is about protecting the country, not just their own email accounts. ....Finally, Mr. Putin’s own vanity could be turned into a weapon against him. Every time he overreaches, the American government should point it out. Every time he fails, we need to say so loudly and clearly. We should tell jokes about him. He can rewrite the record in Russia, but the West does not have to contribute to his mythmaking — and we should stop building him up by portraying him as a virtual supervillain.
cyberattacks  Vladimir_Putin  cyber_security  cyber_warfare  retaliation  security_&_intelligence  punitive  phishing  deterrence  economic_warfare  blacklists  retribution  disinformation  campaigns  destabilization  Russia  information_warfare  delegitimization  deception  overreach  power_grid 
december 2016 by jerryking
For Putin, Disinformation Is Power - The New York Times
AUG. 5, 2016 | The New York Times | By ARKADY OSTROVSKY.

Vladimir V. Putin told Larry King on CNN that his previous job as a K.G.B. officer had been like that of a journalist. “They have the same purpose of gathering information, synthesizing it and presenting it for the consumption of decision makers,”...During the Cold War, the Kremlin interfered in American politics for decades. The K.G.B.’s so-called active measures — subversion, media manipulations, forgery and the financing of some “peace” organizations — lay at the heart of Soviet intelligence.
disinformation  Vladimir_Putin  history  anti-Americanism  subversion  Donald_Trump  security_&_intelligence  Kremlin  WikiLeaks  propaganda  cyber_warfare  Cold_War  triumphalism  narratives  Dmitri_Medvedev  KGB  information_warfare  destabilization  deception 
august 2016 by jerryking
Manage like a spymaster | The Economist
Aug 29th 2015 |

The first lesson from the spymasters is that sometimes the convenience of having everything easily accessible on an internal network has to be sacrificed. Intelligence agencies’ most important stuff may not be kept on computers at all—manual typewriters and carbon paper still have their uses. ...Another lesson from counter-intelligence is the use of deception. The best way to find out if you are being attacked is to offer a tempting target. “Honeypots” are bogus but convincing computers, networks and files which will attract an attacker’s attention, while revealing his presence to the silent watchers. ...If you find out who is attacking you, and what they want, you have some options. You can bring in law-enforcement: breaching someone else’s network is a crime in most jurisdictions. ...Managers could also do with practising a little of the constructive paranoia that spymasters adopt when dealing with technology.
security_&_intelligence  cyber_security  spymasters  counterintelligence  deception  paranoia  industrial_espionage  spycraft  hackers 
august 2015 by jerryking
U.S. Scurries to Shore Up Spying on Russia - WSJ
By ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES and SIOBHAN GORMAN CONNECT
Updated March 24, 2014

There were no Americans on the ground in Crimea to check reports of Russian military movements, U.S. officials say. The U.S. also didn't have drones overhead to gather real-time intelligence, officials say. That increased the U.S.'s reliance on satellite imagery and information gleaned from an analysis of social media, which was muddled by Russian disinformation. State Department officials declined to discuss any technical-intelligence activities.

If Mr. Putin decided to launch a takeover, many U.S. intelligence analysts thought he would use troops participating in the military exercises. Officials now say they underestimated the quality of Russian forces inside Crimea....U.S. military officials also made urgent calls to their counterparts in Russia. Not surprisingly, Russian military officials offered little information. Some of them claimed to be surprised. "It was classic maskirovka," says a senior U.S. official, using the Russian word for camouflage. Spies use the word to describe Moscow's tradition of sophisticated deception tactics.
espionage  surveillance  sigint  Russia  Crimea  imagery  satellites  security_&_intelligence  warning_signs  Vladimir_Putin  disinformation  camouflage  deception  intelligence_analysts 
november 2014 by jerryking
Convicted SAC Trader Loses His Business School Degree - NYTimes.com
March 5, 2014, 1:47 pm
Convicted SAC Trader Loses His Business School Degree
By MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN
SAC_Capital  business_schools  insider_trading  Mathew_Martoma  deception 
march 2014 by jerryking
Past Fictions, a Lack of Trust and No Deal in SAC Case - NYTimes.com
February 6, 2014, 9:19 pm
Past Fictions, a Lack of Trust and No Deal in SAC Case
By JAMES B. STEWART
SAC_Capital  Harvard  deception  Mathew_Martoma 
february 2014 by jerryking
China Squeezes Foreigners for Share of Global Riches - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 29, 2010 | WSJ | By SHAI OSTER, NORIHIKO SHIROUZU
And PAUL GLADER. China's big government-backed companies now have
enormous financial resources and growing political clout, making them
attractive partners outside China. In addition, the Chinese market has
become so important to the success of multinational companies that
Beijing has the ability to drive harder bargains.

But such deals also carry risk. Several earlier joint ventures inside
China have soured over concerns that Chinese partners, after gaining
access to Western technology and know-how, have gone on to become potent
new rivals to their partners.
Beijing  China  deception  economic_clout  GE  joint_ventures  multinationals  political_clout  predatory_practices  rivalries  SOEs 
december 2010 by jerryking

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