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OWASP Global AppSec US 2021
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Thursday, November 11 • 10:00am - 11:00am
Demystifying the Digital Pandemic

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The obsessive need or desire to stay updated with factual information has been on the rise in the digital age and there is an unprecedented growth in the cyber population. The continuous lookout for information, termed as ‘Infomania’ often results in what is being coined as ‘Continuous Partial Attention’ by Linda Stone, a researcher from Microsoft. In such a situation, one’s attention is divided among many sources of incoming information.
The excessive amount of information usually consists of the facts as well as mis and dis – information. Due to the information overload, it becomes difficult to figure what the right information is. With social media and other fast spreading means, the unreliable information spread so rapidly that it becomes close to impossible to curb the spread in real time. The COVID-19 time saw an exponential growth in the spread of misinformation in forms like health advices, cures, conspiracy theories etc.
Often closed messaging apps act as a breeding ground for the spread of false information. The close circles in messaging apps including family, close friends etc. are places where one does not shy away from or have a second thought before sharing unverified information. This is because we feel that these people will not judge us and we are freer to converse with them. The commonly seen trend is that genuine content might be tweaked to propagate a misinformation. Usually, visual/video content is difficult to be checked for misinformation, hate content and other policy violations than textual content. An information disorder can come in various forms like imposter content (where genuine sources are impersonated), fabricated content (completely made-up information), false context (genuine information in a wrong context) or manipulated content (genuine information altered to convey different message). Information disorder spreads mainly through social media, where anyone can act as a publisher of information. When the world was anxious and on the lookout for information, this increasingly unverified publishing has created what WHO calls - an Infodemic.
Misinformation is also often used to hook people by online fraudsters. Tricking someone to divulge confidential information is known as Social Engineering. It refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. There are different types of social engineering attacks, which can be used alone or as a combination. Phishing, Pretexting, Baiting/Quid Pro Quo and Tailgating/Piggybacking are the different types. Recent trends show that, most of the cyber-attacks begin with social engineering tactics. Phishing is one of the popular types of Social Engineering attacks.
Good information hygiene practices are essential to curb the spread of misinformation. This includes verifying the sources from which we consume information. Using our own critical thinking abilities can act as a first defense against misinformation. Checking the urge to share any and every information we come across adds to the information confusion. Just like virus, we should be careful of the information we consume and also take care not to spread misinformation to others from us.

Speakers
avatar for Greeshma M R

Greeshma M R

Ecoloop360
Greeshma is an entrepreneur, author and a freelance writer. She is also one of the co-founders of Ecoloop360, a startup focused on sustainable solutions and knowledge management. She has an educational background in Information Technology and Translational engineering and her interest... Read More →


Thursday November 11, 2021 10:00am - 11:00am PST
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