GlobalSign Blog

12 Apr 2018

Google Fights Back on Fake News - What This Means For Online Security

Google recently announced a new initiative to aid the fight against fake news. The tech giant officially launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) on March 20 that will involve Google spending $300 million over the next three years to help legitimate and respected news organizations bolster business growth and improve the quality of online journalism.

“The GNI signifies a major milestone in Google’s 15-year commitment to the news industry, and will bring together everything we do in collaboration with the industry—across products, partnerships, and programs—to help build a stronger future for news,” Google chief business officer Phillip Schindler wrote on a recent blog post. The Google News Initiative aims to continue Google’s efforts to the content community and further deepen their commitment to the ever-shifting industry of online journalism.

Part of the reason why fake news became abundant was because legitimate news organizations struggled to generate profit in the Internet Age, a weakness that fake news generators exploited as they competed with news organizations for advertising revenue. The Google News Initiative will help fix this imbalance by developing tools to properly separate authentic content from fraudulent ones. Google will also team up with newsrooms to help clear up contradicting facts, especially during major news events.

Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have been accused of providing a platform for fake news to flourish and spread misinformation online, so Google’s latest attempts at fighting back is surely commendable. Not only will this help eradicate misinformation, it will also help in making the internet a secure environment for virtually any user.

The Ways Fake News Affect Online Security

Hackers have successfully drawn victims into clicking malicious links by cooking up false headlines that are sometimes too absurd that it will attract anyone’s attention. Take last year’s case as a prime example. On July 2017, hackers created websites to spread fake news and phish reporters from US-based news outlet China Digital Times. These types of attacks not only discredits legitimate organizations, it also affects the readers as their personal information can easily be phished.

The act of spewing fake news alone can be damaging in other ways. For one, hackers can blur the line between truth and fiction with the help of a flashy headline. They can influence and convince people to give out their personal information or expose themselves online. Some hackers even resorted to imitating or even hijacking verified Twitter accounts to help spread propaganda and other destructive content.

Hackers can also use these fake news outlets to deliver malware to the unfortunate readers by adding malicious download links or adding malware scripts to these websites so they can infect a device once the user visits it. So aside from encouraging confusion, fake news can directly attack devices and computers. As cybersecurity expert James Scott describes it, “Make no mistake; cyber adversaries will continue to utilize news and fake news lures in their social engineering campaigns."

The internet made sharing information easy but it also made sharing false information easy as well. Luckily, trusted entities like Google and GlobalSign exist to provide everyone a secure online experience. Learn how GlobalSign can help you avoid phishing and malware websites by clicking here. To learn more about GlobalSign and its role in making the internet safer, visit our official website.

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