Disinformation caused cyber + reputation risk for businesses
Disinformation is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but in the context of cybersecurity and online reputation management, it’s also an increasingly important issue. Disinformation refers to false information intended to deceive and manipulate people with the goal of subverting democracy. A variety of actors can use disinformation tactics, including foreign governments looking to influence elections — or even just individuals trying to get more followers on Instagram by posting fake news about celebrities and brands.
Disinformation has many implications for businesses as well because these tactics are often used against them as well. For example, if someone spoofs your brand in deep fakes (i.e., videos where computers generate new faces onto existing people), how will your customers react? Or if they’re tricked into thinking you’re affiliated with one group when you’re actually not? The same goes for cyberattacks or other breaches: how will your customers react when they hear about it? And finally, what happens when bad actors launch propaganda campaigns against you through social media channels like Twitter or on Instagram or Whatsapp chats?
Disinformation / Misinformation
Disinformation is a form of propaganda. It is an attempt to manipulate the public by providing false information on any topic, whether social, cultural or political. Disinformation can be done for political gain, financial gain or simply as a prank. Disinformation has been used throughout history by governments and individuals alike.
Disinformation can be spread through multiple channels including bots (automated accounts), trolls and deep fakes (videos that have been manipulated). Twitter has been particularly susceptible to disinformation campaigns due to its open nature; anyone can create an account without providing any verification they actually are who they say they are—a bot could easily pose as someone from your company or organization and attempt to discredit it through posts containing misinformation about it or its products/services.
Disinformation is often used to spread lies and rumors, but it can also be used to get people to believe something that isn’t true. Disinformation can be spread through multiple channels including bots (automated accounts), trolls and deep fakes (videos that have been manipulated).
The basic issue with disinformation caused cybersecurity attacks is that they often mask a secondary, more lethal cybersecurity or cyberwar attack. Often the disinformation attack is the noise created to divert attention (obfuscation) from the real attack going on in the background.
Types of basic cyber attacks often associated with disinformation based attacks:
- Infrastructure Damaging.
- Fake websites.
- Fake social media.
- SMS phishing in addition to email.
- Videos w malware.
- Denial of Service.
- Domain Level attacks.
- USB Stick + personal byod attacks.
- Deep fake videos.
- Account takeover attacks.
- Social engineering attacks.
- Malware laden mobile apps.
- Exploitation of known network and ICS / IoT weaknesses.
- Use of osint to establish attack targets and probe weakness in everything from hospitals to factories and power plants.
- Satellite attacks.
Online Reputation Management
In a world where not only your brand but also your reputation is at stake, it’s no wonder that businesses are turning to online reputation management. But what exactly does that mean?
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the process of managing your brand and/or your reputation in real time across all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As a business owner or decision maker you need to be aware of ORM because it’s likely to affect you: from how your customers view you online, to the price of goods or service offerings on offer for sale in the market place.
ORM isn’t something you can ignore. As more and more people are turning to the internet to find information about products or services, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to have a strong online reputation presence. If you don’t have one, your customers will go elsewhere—and that can have a negative impact on your bottom line.
The deep fake propaganda/cyberwar is a new type of disinformation, which can be used to influence the opinions and decisions of an audience by creating fake videos and audio files. Deepfake technology uses machine learning to create believable, but entirely fabricated footage including such things as porn, However, the technology can be used for much more nefarious purposes than just porn: it can be used to spread misinformation and disinformation with devastating effects on businesses and brands.
Weaponized media is propaganda and disinformation. It can be used by governments, businesses and individuals to manipulate public opinion or the perception of a particular event. Weaponized social media is the new battleground for information warfare, as it allows for a combination of speed, reach and cost-effectiveness that other forms of weaponized media don’t provide.
This form of weaponized media has been used by governments as well as criminal organizations to influence elections or change policy. Examples include fake news stories about Hillary Clinton’s health circulating on Twitter during the 2016 US election; Russia’s efforts to interfere with American foreign policy through Facebook ads; or China hiring thousands of people via WeChat (a Chinese social app) to post positive content about President Xi Jinping—and negative posts about his political opponents—during Chinese parliamentary elections in 2018.
Weaponized social media has also been used by criminals to extort money from people.
Weaponized Social Media
Weaponized social media is a new phenomenon. It’s a form of information warfare, where governments and political actors use social media to influence public opinion by distorting facts and spreading disinformation designed to sow discord among citizens.
This type of propaganda can be used for all sorts of things: influencing elections, swaying public opinion on issues such as climate change or immigration policy and even directly targeting businesses like yours with the goal of damaging your reputation or making you look bad in the eyes of customers or potential investors.
Social media can also be used to spread fake news. Fake news is essentially a form of propaganda, but instead of using it to influence public opinion, it’s usually just designed to entertain. For example, someone might create an article that claims you ate a child’s pet goat and posted the story on social media with the hope that people will share it widely enough so that it becomes viral.
Businesses need to think about how they can avoid getting collateral damage from disinformation — whether it’s because their branding is spoofed in deep fakes, misinformation is spread about them in social media, or their brand is tainted by malign actors using propaganda tactics.
The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to prevent your business from becoming collateral damage.
- Have a reputation management strategy: A strong reputation strategy will help you build and maintain trust with customers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders so they can see the value in your company. To do this, it’s important to understand your brand–what it stands for and what makes it unique–and then protect its reputation at every chance possible. This includes making sure social media posts align with company values and responding quickly when something goes wrong in order to minimize damage caused by negative comments or reviews about products or services offered by competitors on review sites like Yelp!
- Have an online cybersecurity strategy: The internet has become an essential part of our daily lives–but with any new technology comes new risks as well. Cybersecurity strategies should include both technical solutions (like firewalls) as well as human ones (like training employees on best practices). These measures help ensure that hackers cannot access sensitive information stored within company databases while also keeping employees aware of potential threats posed by phishing emails or malware downloads which could compromise passwords used online banking accounts if opened without due diligence being exercised first
Set up a sustainable social media strategy: Social media is an important part of any business’s marketing plan, but it can also be time-consuming to maintain. Companies need to decide what platforms they want to use and how often; this will help them determine how much time needs to be devoted each week or month in order to keep things running smoothly.
In conclusion, it is imperative that businesses understand how disinformation and misinformation can impact their brand and online reputation. Social media platforms have created a new battleground for cyberwarfare, where even the most innocuous-seeming posts can carry malicious intent. This means that companies need to be proactive in protecting themselves from harmful information being spread about them by engaging with social media influencers who have high credibility scores or paying attention to what kind of content they’re sharing.