Threat Intelligence

12/3/2018
02:45 PM
50%
50%

'Influence Agents' Used Twitter to Sway 2018 Midterms

About 25% of political support in Arizona and Florida was generated by influence agents using Twitter as a platform, research shows.

Influence agents were responsible for roughly 25% of political support spread via Twitter for candidates in the Arizona and Florida midterm elections, researchers report.

A new body of research by Morpheus Cybersecurity and APCO Worldwide, entitled "Impact of Influence Operations Targeting Midterm Elections," explores the effects of disinformation campaigns. They analyzed hundreds of thousands of retweets from thousands of accounts, looking for non-organic behavior – for example, high numbers of daily tweets for a long time frame.

The researchers' goal was to include all types of influence agents and explore the myriad ways in which bots and humans effectively swayed politicians and journalists with disinformation. 

Influence agents span a broad range of actors, including fully automated bots, semi-automated bots partially operated by humans, people who leverage software to generate traffic, political volunteers working together, and paid influencers employed by a central organization. Actors helped candidates appear to be more popular and generate organic support they didn't have.

The first phase of this study (June 2018 to August 2018) found an average of 27% of support for each political candidate in Arizona and 24% for each candidate in Florida appeared to come from non-organic accounts. Those numbers remained consistent in phase 2 (September 2018), when 26% of support for Arizona candidates and 28% of support for Florida candidates came from non-organic accounts.

Phase 3 consisted of collecting proof of influence. Researchers analyzed thousands of conversations between influence agents and politicians, journalists, and thought leaders. Their findings included a candidate agreeing with statements provided by influence agents, another engaging in a Q&A session with an influence agent, and a journalist discussing his work with an influence agent who was continually threatening him.

Read more details here.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Higher Education: 15 Books to Help Cybersecurity Pros Be Better
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  12/12/2018
Worst Password Blunders of 2018 Hit Organizations East and West
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  12/12/2018
2019 Attacker Playbook
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  12/14/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
The Year in Security 2018
This Dark Reading Tech Digest explores the biggest news stories of 2018 that shaped the cybersecurity landscape.
Flash Poll
[Sponsored Content] The State of Encryption and How to Improve It
[Sponsored Content] The State of Encryption and How to Improve It
Encryption and access controls are considered to be the ultimate safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of data, which is why they're mandated in so many compliance and regulatory standards. While the cybersecurity market boasts a wide variety of encryption technologies, many data breaches reveal that sensitive and personal data has often been left unencrypted and, therefore, vulnerable.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-19790
PUBLISHED: 2018-12-18
An open redirect was discovered in Symfony 2.7.x before 2.7.50, 2.8.x before 2.8.49, 3.x before 3.4.20, 4.0.x before 4.0.15, 4.1.x before 4.1.9 and 4.2.x before 4.2.1. By using backslashes in the `_failure_path` input field of login forms, an attacker can work around the redirection target restricti...
CVE-2018-19829
PUBLISHED: 2018-12-18
Artica Integria IMS 5.0.83 has CSRF in godmode/usuarios/lista_usuarios, resulting in the ability to delete an arbitrary user when the ID number is known.
CVE-2018-16884
PUBLISHED: 2018-12-18
A flaw was found in the Linux kernel in the NFS41+ subsystem. NFS41+ shares mounted in different network namespaces at the same time can make bc_svc_process() use wrong back-channel id and cause a use-after-free. Thus a malicious container user can cause a host kernel memory corruption and a system ...
CVE-2018-17777
PUBLISHED: 2018-12-18
An issue was discovered on D-Link DVA-5592 A1_WI_20180823 devices. If the PIN of the page "/ui/cbpc/login" is the default Parental Control PIN (0000), it is possible to bypass the login form by editing the path of the cookie "sid" generated by the page. The attacker will have acc...
CVE-2018-18921
PUBLISHED: 2018-12-18
PHP Server Monitor before 3.3.2 has CSRF, as demonstrated by a Delete action.