Fake News and real risks on Cybersecurity: Steganography
“True” and their own “Fake stories”, retouched photos, artfully cut. In 2017 there were so many false reports that the Collins Dictionary declared the term FAKE NEWS the word of the year.
Keeping in mind the viral nature of the titles and the false news, it derives a strong risk on the Cybersecurity.
Fake news, more often than not, spread using a network of fake websites. Attackers can amplify their content and messages using social media, “clickbait” activities, but also advertising.
The damage that the virility of fake news before they are discovered, can cause, for example, the stabilization of governments, electoral rounds, etc., are not the only deleterious effects of such activities. Often false news is hosted on websites that, although they may seem harmless to visitors, actually have the ability to hide malware (virus, malicious code) within its content. This practice is called steganography, which is a system to hide malware from images hosted on remote Web servers and published as advertisements. The malware in this way can act more or less undisturbed.
We apply, in fact, this system of Cyberattack to the diffusion of Fake News: a false story is specially created and shared with a sensational image that contains a malware. The story is spread through social networks, relying on misleading domain names (eg www.whashingtonpost7.com) that reach a public that amplifies the flow. A user sees the story, clicks to read and share, infecting his systems and further spreading malicious content on social networks.
Today, we have not yet massively witnessed the use of Fake News to build weapons for attacking and spreading malware / viruses (e-mails are still widespread, even if antivirus systems are increasingly “perfect”), but in the coming years it is very likely that this becomes an almost “normality”.
So the question of how to defend yourself from all this remains. The formulas studied so far have proved to be rather ineffective: once spread and entered the circuit, the Fake News is difficult to render harmless, as well as definitive from a recent study conducted by the Italian researcher Walter Quattrociocchi that identifies the c.d. “echo chambers”, virtual gathering places where all those present tend to think of it in the same way about a specific theme.
So, it is clear that we need to act at the time of publication, giving the reader the possibility, through intelligent automatisms, to know immediately if a news is true or false. Mechanisms that can not be based on “human” evaluations but essentially on automatic “rating” processes and confirmation of the events that have occurred,