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Disinformation is a Form of Cyber Attack – How Should You Respond?

You know what disinformation is. At this point, you can’t not know. At least, not unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years. However, when you think of disinformation, do you think of it as a form of cyber attack?

How is Disinformation a Form of Cyber Attack?

Disinformation and fake news are quickly becoming daily mainstream media talking points. There is just one problem.

When you hear the term ‘fake news,’ you probably associate it with things like foreign powers meddling in democratic elections. What you probably don’t associate disinformation with, is the longevity or prosperity of your business.

Sadly, misinformation can have a just as damaging effect on your business, as it can national politics.

Disinformation Can Undermine Your Business

Imagine this scenario: You run a busy restaurant. Suddenly, though, business slumps. You, therefore, start running promotions and special offers. However, every day things get worse. Then, to your horror, you realise why.

For the past month, your Tripadvisor and social media profiles have been inundated every day with tens of misleading negative reviews.

Perhaps a new competitor is trying to ruin your business. Possibly, a customer or former employee has a vendetta against you. It might even be the case that someone you know personally holds a secret grudge.

Whoever the culprit is, they have made a concerted effort to undermine your business. The only question is, what can you do about it?

How Can You Hope to Thwart a Disinformation Cyber Attack?

A disinformation attack on your business can take many forms. Fake reviews on social media are one of the most common attack vectors. However, disinformation cyber attackers can also create everything from misleading viral videos to damning blog posts.

Thankfully, there are ways that businesses can respond when they come under a cyber attack.

Fight Fake News by Knowing Your Social Media Landscape

One of the first things businesses need to do to fight disinformation is know where reputation-damaging content might be posted. If you run an e-commerce business, you likely won’t have to worry about people posting fake reviews on Tripadvisor. – But what about Facebook?

  • Map your media landscape to know where disinformation might one day be posted.
  • Implement tools that can automatically notify you when new content concerning your business gets posted.
  • Prepare to counter disinformation attacks, by familiarising yourself with how to contact social media platform moderators, to have fake statements removed, or at least investigated.

When a Disinformation Campaign Against You Starts, Respond Quickly

Content posted on social media can start going viral in a matter of seconds. This is especially true for emotionally charged and controversial content. For this reason, you must plan a rapid response to disinformation campaigns.

  • Immediately contact social media moderators or website administrators to voice your concern about disparaging content.
  • Try to determine if disinformation campaigns will likely damage your reputation. A single disparaging post by a social media user with few followers likely isn’t something to worry about. However, a coordinated attack against you by lots of people will be cause for concern.
  • If social media influences are involved, they may be involved without realising that the information they are spreading is false. This being the case, consider reaching out to them to clarify the situation.

Tell Your Side of The Story

In many cases, it will be impossible to thwart a disinformation campaign against your business in real-time. This being the case, it will often pay to respond to attacks by releasing a public statement telling your side of the story. If you do this, though, make sure that everything you say is 100% accurate.

Get Professional Help Monitoring Social Media 

It goes without saying that if you are a busy business owner, you might not have time to constantly be on the lookout for fake news.

Thankfully, as disinformation cyber attacks are becoming more common, cyber security experts are starting to offer the likes of social media monitoring services.  Many can also help you respond when attacks manifest. This being the case, there is support available. You just need to know where to look. Speak to one of our experts today about how you can best prepare for any future potential threats.

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