Posted by Helen Martin on Apr 25, 2019
"Fake news" is a term that was little used just a handful of years ago, yet by 2017 it had become so prominent in our everyday vocabulary that it was awarded the honour of the Collins Dictionary's "word of the year".
fake news (ˌfeɪk ˈnjuːz) noun: false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting (Collins Dictionary)
Seen as one of the greatest threats to democracy, free debate and the Western order, with massive disinformation campaigns being waged by the intelligence agencies of hostile nations, it's all too easy to overlook the fact that even relatively small operations can be abused to manipulate public opinion.
A former reporter by profession, Sophos researcher Andrew Brandt's curiosity was piqued when he came across what appeared at first glance to be the website of a small-town newspaper based in Illinois, USA, but under scrutiny, things didn't really add up.
At VB2018 in Montreal, Andrew presented a paper in which he detailed his investigation of a number of fake sites and outlined the ways in which we as an industry can help to call out such deliberate sharing of misinformation and support legitimate journalism.
Andrew Brandt will also speak at VB2019 in London. This time, in a Small Talk session, he will share his experience of analysing "retromalware" – some of the oldest extant malicious code – to see what can be learned about this ancient malicious code, and whether it bears any resemblance to modern malware.
Registration for VB2019 is now open; early bird rates apply until 30 June.