Since Black Hat Europe 2008, which took place in Amsterdam, we’ve got a lot of attention around what is Black PR and what exactly we have to do with it. A few media outlets covered some of the details around our expertise in this area although their point of view was, well, slightly distorted from the reality. Therefore, with this post we would like to clarify the basics of Black PR and PR Security business and also explain how it is integrated within our group.

Let’s start with a bit of explanation. The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Black Public Relations (BPR) or negative PR is a process of destroying someone’s reputation and corporate identity. In other words, instead of concentrating your efforts in the maintenance and the creation of a positive reputation/ image of your clients, you are trying to discredit someone’ else (usually your business rivals). Unlike the regular services in Public Relations, those in BPR rely on the development of industries such as IT security, industrial espionage, social engineering and competitive intelligence. Their main objective is finding all of the dirty secrets of their target and turning them against their very own holder. Wikipedia

In summary, BPR is all about professional smear strategies, industrial espionages, propaganda and information hacking because data accessibility is crucial for every BPR campaign. Now let’s move on and see how this is related to what we do.

As you are probably aware, GNUCITIZEN is not flat. The GNUCITIZEN umbrella unites several other organizations which operate independently and are equal in size and importance. Spin Hunters, the Social Hacking Research House, is one of the few organizations/companies worldwide that deal with Public Relations Security (PR Security), exclusively. Spin Hunter’s main objective is to provide information on the wide range of black pr threats. In a way, Spin Hunters is to black pr, as GNUCITIZEN is to information security. This means, that when you read the Spin Hunter’s blog you will become more aware of what black public relations is and also learn how to detect and counter-attack bpr, smear campaigns, etc. In fact, Spin Hunters is mostly about detection and protection. We wont do BPR for you, so don’t waste yours or our time.

Spin Hunters and GNUCITIZEN work together on a few levels. First of all, in order to detect or prevent BPR we have to perform a few deep analysis of the situation. This also involves things such as identifying information security vulnerabilities and attack vectors because as I mentioned before, data is a crucial asset. The GNUCITIZEN tiger team is mostly involved with that stage. Once information is obtained, the black pr experts and pr security analysts provide consulting about how all identified attack vectors can be used in order to damage the client’s reputation. By saying attack vectors, I refer to the class of vulnerabilities which are not only hi-tech related but also has to do with other things such as propaganda, social engineering, business intelligence, etc.

In short, we don’t do Black PR. We do PR Security. Spin Hunters is primary involved with providing information on current Black PR threats and counter-strategies. GNUCITIZEN is involved with providing information on security threats and counter-attacks. Spin Hunters and GNUCITIZEN work together on several levels – as a think tank, tiger team and a consulting bureau. Therefore, the claim that we are going to counter-attack companies that try to hide security vulnerabilities is false and shows that there is a significant lack of understandings on the essence of black pr and pr security. Nevertheless, the Black PR and PR Security field is huge and the more you are aware of these practices the more you realize that they are effectively used on a day-to-day basis.