Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cognitive Hacking Warnings: More Internet Information Means More Disinformation,warns Dartmouth Professor

Date:
August 5, 2002
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Sometimes what seems to be a respected source of reliable information is actually a clever scheme to manipulate people, suggests Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering Professor George Cybenko. This kind of "cognitive hacking" on the Internet could be contributing to the stock market's uncertainty, and it could shape our views in ways we don't even realize.

HANOVER, N.H. -- Why is the stock market fluctuating wildly these days? Is it poor earnings reports? Is it questionable accounting practices or CEO inefficiency? Or do investors trade frantically after they've read something on the Internet? If an investor reads a seemingly authoritative report about a company's performance, he or she might be influenced to buy or sell stock. Sometimes what seems to be a respected source of reliable information is actually a clever scheme to manipulate people, suggests Dartmouth Thayer School of Engineering Professor George Cybenko. This kind of "cognitive hacking" on the Internet could be contributing to the stock market's uncertainty, and it could shape our views in ways we don't even realize.

In an article in the August issue of Computer magazine, the publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society, Cybenko recounts some elaborate cyber schemes intended to alter the user's perceptions. Writing with Paul Thompson, a senior research engineer at Dartmouth's Institute for Security Technology Studies, and Annarita Giani, a graduate student, the article describes different kinds of cognitive hacking and offers suggestions for combating this cunning crime.

"This really is a problem area straddling technology and society," says Cybenko. "By manipulating information, hackers can alter our perceptions of reality in subtle ways – without launching a virus or a network worm."

In one case during the summer of 2000, a cognitive hacker wrote a press release about a company stating that the company was revising its earnings statement to reflect a loss rather than a gain. Then he distributed the release, which also stated that the company's CEO had resigned, via a credible business news service, which was subsequently picked up by other news services. Within hours the stock price had plummeted, and the hacker had recouped a recent loss in a stock short sale (this is where stock prices must fall for the seller to profit). Although he was caught, fined and faces prison time, this scenario demonstrates the vulnerability of some networked systems.

"The damage had little to do with penetrating the network infrastructure or technology. It had to do with manipulating perception and waiting for altered reality to produce actions that would complete the attack," the article states.

Cybenko, Giani and Thompson describe various shades of cognitive hacking, some with significant consequences, while others are simply a nuisance. The outcome, however, is usually unpredictable. It's this unknown quality that makes thwarting cognitive hackers a challenge.

"People can help by trying to authenticate their information before acting on it," says Cybenko. "Of course, if the source is a news organization, the content provider has a responsibility to provide accurate, balanced information, but market pressures to be first with a story are taking their toll." Other avenues for curbing cognitive hacking involve network surveillance and constant monitoring, but the article points out that many of these tools and technologies still need to be developed.

"Until then, users must remain constantly alert," the article concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "Cognitive Hacking Warnings: More Internet Information Means More Disinformation,warns Dartmouth Professor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020805075441.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2002, August 5). Cognitive Hacking Warnings: More Internet Information Means More Disinformation,warns Dartmouth Professor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020805075441.htm
Dartmouth College. "Cognitive Hacking Warnings: More Internet Information Means More Disinformation,warns Dartmouth Professor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020805075441.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
iPhone 6 Sales Mark Yet Another Year Of Records, Glitches

iPhone 6 Sales Mark Yet Another Year Of Records, Glitches

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) Customers looking to preorder the iPhone 6 on Friday experienced a few hiccups thanks to record demand for the device overnight. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Photo-Sharing App Tiiny Really A Snapchat Competitor?

Is Photo-Sharing App Tiiny Really A Snapchat Competitor?

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) Tiiny, a photo-sharing app, is being called a Snapchat competitor. But after testing it ourselves, we'd have to disagree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins