Information Warfare


Misinformation is false or inaccurate information and is often spread widely to others, regardless of an intent to deceive. Misinformation itself isn’t a targeted battleground but instead turns into one when information is spread before ensuring it is correct.

The best way to combat misinformation is to research what the information is trying to say. Look into who is behind this information, what is the evidence behind it, and what do other sources say. If the information is an image or meme, doing a reverse image search on Google can verify that image. Another thing to look at is where the information is coming from. If the new sources are biased or neutral, that would completely change the information you are reading. People can check the bias on different media sites with Ad Fontes’ Media Bias Chart.

The monetization model of internet media today incentivizes engagement over the accuracy of information. Most people who spread misinformation on the internet are not doing so willingly; they simply share information they find interesting. Unfortunately, those who want to spread disinformation intentionally can take advantage of these incentives to leverage others as unwitting participants in their distribution of false information and obscure the original source in the process. Many of these false stories pose as plausible but sensational stories. Because it is common for information to be reposted many times without attribution, you may need to dig deeper than the immediate author to learn more about its origins. Grey Market Labs Chief Engineer, Justin Schmitt, recommends, “to search for portions of the article in a search engine; are parts of the article corroborated or copied from other sources? Are these sources reputable, biased, or are they content farms?”

Justin also suggests “to watch for any signs of deep-fake or AI-generated imagery currently in use. Familiarize yourself with common AI imagery capabilities so that you can spot them when you find them in use. For example, demonstrates some AI imagery techniques that some may use when attempting to fake profile pictures. Refresh the page a few times, and you will notice that these AI images, while realistic, often have distinctive patterns which can be used to identify them.”

While misinformation can be intentional or not, its impact on the public’s opinion is extreme. In that sense, this is the more effective and efficient form of cyber warfare because the ability for information to reach many different audiences is unbeatable. All someone needs is a simple share from one other person, then that information goes beyond the initial network and reaches a tenfold audience.


***The next article in The New Battlefront 101 series will discuss how cyber attacks on institutions affects everyday life.


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