Last week, I was talking about hacktivists and amongst the cybercrimes, there still are a lot of ethical hackers who are protecting the network systems against those crimes. And I thought these crimes were the only cause of cyber attacks, until now.
The term “sock puppets” are known as false online personas who are “equipped to seem like real people while entering online discussion through blogs, message boards, chats, and more. With a false persona, a user could discredit opponents, or create the semblance of consensus” (Mitew 2017). Multiple accounts are controlled by the same user in an attempt to dominate comment forums, shape public opinion and spread fake news. They can be a member of an online forum, a commentator on a tweet or even a friend of us on Facebook.
A large number of sock puppets can determine the result of an online poll, provide biased information towards a political event and even call for a strike. When you read online reviews of a restaurant, it may be fine to see a bad comment or two about the place, but you definitely would have a second thought if there were full of negative reviews. Similarly, sock puppets can manipulate you, using the dominant ideology to bombard your mind and change your perspective towards an event. Therefore, sock puppets also play a role as online propagandists.
In the era of fake news, detecting sock puppets is crucial. From now on, you will never know who actually is “real person” on the Internet.
Mitew T 2017, ‘Dark Fiber: hackers, botnets, cyberwar’, Prezi slides, 21 July, Wollongong University, viewed 11 October 2017,<https://prezi.com/iiied2_aa8tc/dark-fiber-hackers-botnets-cyberwar/>.
Nguyen, R 2017, Hacking: good or bad and what evaluates that?, WordPress, weblog post, 5 October, viewed 11 October 2017, <https://ray2401.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/hacking-good-or-bad-and-what-evaluates-that/>.