All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

Cisco warns of risks from news scams on social media

16 Oct 2012

Security researchers with Cisco are advising users to remain sceptical of news reports circulating on social media sites like Twitter.

The company said that users could find themselves in danger of attacks should they buy into the hysteria and panic caused by attempts to circulate false pieces of news on social networking sites such as Twitter.

Cisco corporate security global threat analyst Jean Gordon Kocienda said that recent incidents in which the public has spread hoaxes or satirical items as genuine news have underscored the risk users face from the manipulation of social media services and news feed.

Kocienda suggested a scenario in which a terrorist group could use disinformation on social networks to breed fear in users or steer individuals to locations which could then be targeted for attacks.

Further complicating matters, said the researcher, is an increasing reliance by media organisations on social networking sites for breaking news reports.

"The first safeguard against falling for fabricated stories is to confirm the story across multiple sources. In the old days, journalists did this job for us, so that by the time we read or heard the news, it was vetted," the researcher wrote in a blog post.

"These days, journalists are getting their stories from the same Twitter feeds that we are, and if several of us fall for the same story, we can easily mistake re-tweets for triangulation."

False news items and outrageous reports have long been a favoured tactic for online attacks. Malware writers have for years used the lure of news coverage and video reports on popular topics as a means for bringing users to attack sites and malware downloaders.

The danger, however, could also spill over into the real world, said Kocienda.

"It isn’t hard to imagine a scenario in which a terrorist coordinates on-the-ground attacks with misleading tweets with the intent to clog roads or phone lines, or send people into the path of danger," the analyst explained.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

More on Security
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Green IT poll

How important is it to your business that a cloud provider uses renewable energy like solar or wind to power their data centres?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 head to head review front

Galaxy S5 vs Nexus 5 video review

We compare Samsung and Google's top devices

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery...

Java Developers - Newcastle

Java Developers required in Newcastle. Competitive salaries...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.