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Risk

2/28/2020
11:50 AM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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6 Truths About Disinformation Campaigns

Disinformation goes far beyond just influencing election outcomes. Here's what security pros need to know.
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Disinformation Targeting Businesses an Emerging Threat

Disinformation campaigns targeting businesses and enterprise organizations are emerging as a new threat. Software bots, tools that employ machine learning, and natural language-generation software are making it easier for threat actors to create and spread disinformation about businesses and business leaders, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

State-actors, criminal groups, disgruntled employees, and business rivals have begun employing these tools to create mischief against organizations in the form of fake reviews, fake stories about alleged discrimination in the workplace, misquoted executive statements, and manipulated videos. In one instance, a retail chain experienced brand damage and increased public scrutiny after fake reports about employee discrimination. In another instance, a company experienced lost sales and a drop in its stock price following a similar disinformation campaign on social media.

One publicly reported incident involved restaurant chain Olive Garden. In August 2019, Twitter posts urging people to boycott the company went viral after a false report surfaced about Olive Garden contributing to US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign. Liberal-leaning accounts quickly spread the tweet via retweets and quote-tweets. calling on people to boycott the restaurant chain, while conservative-leaning accounts urged people to rally behind Olive Garden. According to security firm Nisos, which tracked the incident, #BoycottOliveGarden received more than 52,500 mentions on Twitter from 48,700 users and generated over 139 million impressions.

Such campaigns can impact organizations in multiple ways, Deloitte said in its report. Potential consequences include brand and reputational damage, loss of public trust, and financial losses, the consulting firm said.

Image Source: Sushiman via Shutterstock

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