Exploding social media use and the growing availability of software bots and tools for manipulating video and other online content have made it easier than ever for bad actors to conduct broad disinformation campaigns.
While many tend to think of these campaigns as being mostly aimed at influencing election outcomes, the reality is that disinformation impacts a lot more than just politics and political leaders.
Recently, governments, hacktivists, and other threat actors have begun using disinformation and propaganda to push various partisan agendas, including those tied to health emergencies like the Coronavirus, religious beliefs, and financial markets. Security experts expect those with malintent to increasingly use disinformation campaigns to try and harm companies' brands and reputations, spread rumors about business leaders, and hurt organizations financially.
"Disinformation is as old as communication. It just happens to take a new form," says Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra. "Fighting disinformation is hard and comes down to what people will and will not believe."
Following are six things to know about disinformation campaigns.