Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cognitive hacking warnings

01.08.2002


More Internet information means more disinformation,warns a Dartmouth engineering professor



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

Sue Knapp | EurekAlert!

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>