Mariel Klosterman is a student at Dakota State University. She is a Cybersecurity Researcher | Speaker | Information Security up and comer. She recently won the Open Source Rising Star at OSMOSIS 2021. Learn about her career and the dos and don’ts of sock puppets.
Sock Puppets? Thinking Muppets. Nope. Today we have the pleasure of a rising star in the field of OSINT. Mariel Klosterman. She just received the Open Source Rising Star of the Year at OSMOSIS 2021. That is such an honor. I truly wish I had been so focused when I was her age. She is a pleasure to have as a guest. You will learn a lot not only about her but also the do’s and don’ts of sock puppets. I definitely got some tips.
This week I listened to Adam Grant interview Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of Pepsi. Initially, I was not interested in her book because I saw tweets about her saying Ex Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi claims she's "never, ever, ever" asked for a pay rise and finds the idea 'cringeworthy'. I found that to be tone-deaf. But when I dug further and listened to her talk with Adam Grant I completely changed my mind. Not about the raise but about her. She is incredibly well-spoken, thoughtful, and is continuing to learn. She is very interested in data analytics. I have linked to the interview in the show notes. Her life story and career path is just so interesting.
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M K: So I won the Open Source rising star of the year Award for 2021 and then Cynthia also invited me to speak at their Bits and Bytes session so I got to talk a little bit about sock puppets there with everyone.
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Kelly Paxton: That is truly amazing because everyone who knows me knows that Osmosis is my favorite conference...I love the conference and I love what Cynthia has done with the conference.
M K: yeah and I don't know I've always been interested by Sherlock Holmes just because you know it's not as far as I know, it's not that reasonable that you could know like a specific type of tobacco just by the scent but you know that always fascinated me like how you go about like learning that you know how do you go about train yourself, so that you could just specifically know that that scent and okay it's this type of tobacco, you know, so I was always interested by that.
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Kelly Paxton: What is the best money you have ever spent personally or professionally.
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M K: That's a tough one. Okay, I think you'd have to be. I spent it on a book.
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M K: A leadership book, which is also kind of weird.
Kelly Paxton: We kind of had some fun with the fact that you know she's got better wi fi in South Dakota than I do, in Bend, but now we are back, and we have even more to talk about, because what did you do this last week, Maria was very exciting.
Mariel Klosterman: I spoke at the day of Shesecurity conference and as well as the Rainbow cyber security symposium.
Kelly Paxton: So you're still going to be in love with sock puppets back in any.
Mariel Klosterman: Absolutely I don't think they're going anywhere and I'm sure they'll get more complex, in some ways, just because of how platforms are you know, trying to shut them down or trying to find out which accounts are sock puppet accounts or bought accounts and so yeah it'll be interesting to see the progression of different techniques, you have to use in order to make them.
Mariel Klosterman: Demographic you're looking for, or maybe you can just go search up you know if you're getting looking for a certain age or a certain demographic, then you can look up you know popular baby names, for you know this year, or whatever, and then you can just pick names based on there and that's usually how I come up with some of the.
Identifying features and then some of it is just being creative about Okay, you know you have to make this person seem realistic.
So what's you know some hobbies they might have or you know things like that that I really try to put extra thought into so it seems more real than just oh yeah I just created this account just recently.
Mariel Klosterman: And I know a lot of people don't do that just because it's most of the time it's a throwaway account or something you're not going to use long term, but if you are looking to use it long term you just want to look into this is a person right we're acting like this as a person, so we need to make it, you know their actions and whatever they say whatever they post line up with other things they posted you can't you know one time say yes I'm this party and then another time oh I'm free this party, you know doesn't make a lot of sense if you're like yeah sure it's congruent.
Kelly Paxton: I was a female agent, so I had to read all of the messages and they were very disturbing, I mean really, really disturbing, but he was testing me. Every time we had a phone call he would test me.
Kelly Paxton: You know I couldn't just wing it. And I tried, the same thing with sock puppets. You can't just wing it or you could lose it.
Mariel Klosterman: So when you're creating them you don't want to do with a VPN just because they flag, a lot of VPN traffic as suspicious because VPN.
So you'll want to create it at a public place like a restaurant or you know McDonald's or something or a public library just something that okay this normal people would create accounts here, and after that you can switch to your VPN and put you know, put it wherever you want your sock puppet to be but initially yeah you don't want to create it with VPN.
Do you have any sock puppets? Are you now better understanding sock puppets? Wasn’t Mariel a delight? When you interview the younger generation I feel hopeful for our future truly. Seeing Mariel be so active in the OSINT community is wonderful. I love when they are brave enough to throw their hat in the ring for speaking events and volunteering. It is a good thing as Martha Stewart would say.
Next week is Craig Stanland. He is a FF aka Felon Friend. His story is continuing to evolve but I love the fact that he is so incredibly happy and positive given all that has happened due to his past choices. Stay tuned and have a great week.