A successful chaos operation, like a recipe, is an algorithm. If the steps are followed, with the occasional mild variation, the result is always the desired impact on the target population or the successful conveyance of a powerful meme. The first part of any digital “Chaos Operation” is to understand the target audience. Take into consideration the natural cognitive biases that are virtually present in the automatic responses of the target audience, then zero in on their social evolutionary state via spiral dynamics. Next, understanding the psycho-archetype of the target is critical; therefore, socionics can be used to expedite this process while it simultaneously helps the operator discover the target’s alliances and adversaries and their alliances. Finally, this information is used to create a psychographic algorithm using the metadata curated on these groups via their online web history. The dragnet surveillance capitalists who collect and track these groups are where the treasure troves of data are for this process.

Now that the operator has a solid understanding of the psychological factors at play with the target audience and more ammo for meme creation, it’s time to create bot accounts and notify bot service providers on how to weaponize their accounts. Each account should be weaponized completely to the theme and triggers that cater to the target audience, such as pictures; bios; accounts followed; and posts retweeted, liked, shared, and made. The accounts must be believable to blend with the digital tribe and the particular silo within that tribe in which the operator is tailoring the campaign. The volume of accounts created will be dictated by the size and length of the campaign. Accounts should be created for both overt and covert support of the campaign theme. Traditional broadcast media has little to do with the success of the viral ability of the campaign. Most operators will have their ready list of online properties to use, and most begin by weaponizing the following platform categories: image sharing sites (i.e., Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest); video sharing platform channels and influencers (i.e., YouTube, Vimeo); high PR blogs for comments (the list will be curated based on the tribe being targeted); information sharing platforms, pages and groups (i.e., Facebook, Reddit, G+, StumbledUpon, Snapchat, Twitter, VK,, Vine, AskFM); audio sharing platforms (i.e., SoundCloud, iTunes, ReverbNation, YouTube, Vimeo); dating sites for reinforcement and normalization of messages (i.e., Match, Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, PlentyofFish, Zoosk, Badoo, ChristianMingle, OurTime); and business networking and information sites (i.e., LinkedIn, Foursquare, Yelp). The operator will use additional platforms based on the type, size, and length of the campaign.

Now that the target audience is discovered and analyzed, the operator will be seeking out an “incident” to weaponize via the Hegelian dialectic principle (problem, outcry, solution). The incident renders a plug-and-play introduction of the meme. When creating a meme, the operator will take into consideration color psychology, cognitive bias, the social evolutionary state of the target audience, where to promote the meme, the psychology of the imagery, short bursts of text that can be applied to the meme, and the triggers to spike adversarial response. The meme will typically be placed on a high volume image sharing platform, such as Instagram and Flickr, and will be tested via weaponized hashtags on Twitter. Bot accounts will be used to expedite the variability and success or failure of the meme, and the hashtags will expedite the meme’s path to the most targeted audience. If the meme is successful, it will take root and spread organically to the intended and alliance tribes. Support of those who spread the meme organically is critical, and bots need to be applied to their efforts to enunciate and reward their efforts. If one is fortunate enough to gain traction with a tribe chieftain, reward them with positive comments and reviews that heighten their position and respect as an “insider” among their chieftain peers and associated tribal ideological silos. For those adversarial elements, it’s critical to demonize and attack them immediately using every vector and support with weaponized spambots and harass with a bombardment of negative reviews, likes, shares, and comments on any vector in which they post. The intent is to silence and make an example of them.

When a meme is tested and successful, the operator will facilitate the same process along every vector using owned and leased accounts that have been weaponized for the campaign. The floodgates are opened, bots reinforce the message, comments and reviews are strategically spammed, hashtags are zeroed in, and this continues until there is an indicator that this meme is organically viral and beginning to mutate and replicate in other tribes. Support and reward chieftain and tribes who continue the survival and expansion of the meme with the same process used during the testing phase. As the audience is constructed and grows, it will be necessary to feed a steady flow of memes into the wild that are specifically targeting the various tribes that have supported and mutated the original meme.

In addition to the continuation of meme creation, emotional triggers need to be introduced. The quickest way to do this is to make the targeted tribes and chieftains fight to defend the meme, therefore creating the illusion that the adversaries’ response to the meme must go viral and target the chieftain of the tribal system. For this to work, the memes must be aggressive and the pure opposite of the initial meme created, and the support and reward system used above must be introduced to the adversarial element. Weaponized accounts that cater to the adversaries’ narrative will be created along the same vectors as above. This offensive must be more robust than the initial meme introduction; the initially targeted tribes will display vigil and emotionally charged defense of the meme and the idea behind the meme. At this point, the targeted tribes will begin to create their own memes that spread organically along all digital vectors, including closed and hidden forums. The operator will repeat this process continuously for the life of the campaign. (Note: For the operator with technical acumen, cyberattack will be introduced at the final phases of each meme cycle. This could be ransomware with the moniker of the adversaries or malware with a simple payload that introduces a keylogger and hot mic or camera activation to gain access to exploitable information)


Influence operations designed to normalize foreign influence, evoke mass chaos, or enflame societal tensions are inexpensive and rely on publicly available and mostly free digital tools and platforms. Though nation-state APTs and the intelligence community have far more sophisticated tools, low-level “guerrilla” operatives can achieve the same, if not greater, influence over a population through minimal cost and public platforms. In fact, because influence operations are asymmetrical by design, unsophisticated and miserly threat actors achieve a far more significant result per investment than nation-state sponsored and well-resourced actors do.

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