Disinformation is a potent weapon in the current cold cyberwar arsenal. DisInfo attacks are skyrocketing and the number of countries using organized social media manipulation is going up steeply.
Rapidly maturing bot technology and the ease of access to social media and other online platforms enable fast, cheap creation of disinfo campaigns.
It's now 2020 and we are sadly used to hearing how disinformation campaigns are being waged to influence people's thinking, spread fake news, and further political agendas But the same tactics aren't solely a threat in terms of at-scale social manipulation, scientists recently warned.
In a new study, researchers demonstrate that weaponized disinformation campaigns could also hypothetically be exploited to execute relatively immediate attacks on critical infrastructure – using coercive methods to manipulate citizens into unwittingly wreaking havoc on the places they live. It sounds like pretty alarmist stuff, but such is the world we live in: The research is inspired by real events that have already happened.
2020 is an election year, so these social engineering campaigns at-scale are being launched fast and furious. Analyst CB Insights created a graph of the number of countries that are now using these both for internal and external campaigns:
The way these campaigns are being spread varies by country, but 87% use human accounts to wage these attacks, 80% use bot accounts, 11% use so-called cyborg AI-driven accounts and 7% use hacked or stolen accounts. You can count on most them use "all of the above". CB Insights in their research report also created a cool infographic using sources from the Department of Homeland Security to illustrate how the Disinformation Kill Chain works:
Something needs to be done about this.
We need to inoculate our employees against this type of social engineering. KnowBe4 is proud and excited to release a brand-new training module that trains your users to Spot And Stop the Spread of Disinformation. This new module covers the red flags that show an email or social media message might be propaganda and trains the end user to apply critical thinking before they forward damaging disinformation.
We strongly suggest we step your users through this module as soon as possible. You can preview this 15-minute module at the KnowBe4 Modstore right now. See below.