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Platform Weaponization is a form or type of information warfare and psychological warfare involving the unaccounted for potential or actual actions that result in outside agents (Physical or digital in nature) leveraging a technology platform to serve ends that run counter to those of the intended use for the system. Platform Weaponization is sometimes referred to as Weaponized Design,. This is not a cyber security issue in that the system actually functions the way in which it was designed, and no breach has occurred. It is a means of leveraging the system in question's functional design to serve aims that may in some instances border on illegality or infringe upon the rights of not only the owner of the system but its users as well. This comes to the fore when you take into account memetic warfare.
Two of the most recent examples being the use of bots against Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Regardless of the origin or nature of these initiatives, the volume and frequency of occurrence as it relates to generally accepted (normal) usage and or paid/agreed upon usage based on agreements between the proprietor and external agent/s.
This concept cannot only be restricted to social media platforms and those technology operations that collect and distribute large volumes of data. Any platform that is used by a significant number of users/systems or has a reach that can be considered impactful outside of normal or accepted channels of understanding are at risk of being weaponized. An example of this would be the exacerbation of global stock and securities market volatility brought about by the unmonitored deployment of HFT algorithms described as a "Flash Crash".
These technologies can be used to target individuals, groups, and industries themselves. Causing, economic, financial or even political harm. With the increasing ubiquity of technology around us growing daily the risks to weaponization of these devices and technologies is increasing along with it.
- "On Weaponised Design". Tactical Technology Collective.
- "Perspective - When Facebook and Google are 'weaponized,' the victim is reality". Washington Post.
- Kim, Tae (23 May 2018). "Goldman Sachs says computerized trading may make next 'flash crash' worse".
- "If Everything Can Be 'Weaponized,' What Should We Fear?".