26.05.2020

Social Links Survey results on COVID & remote work:

where the search for misinformation begins
The pandemic, and the resulting self-isolation,
has changed the way millions of people live and work
for quite a long time, including those who do OSINT.
We were interested to know what has changed specifically. So, we surveyed a number of professionals in OSINT investigations and this is what we have managed to find out.
The majority responded negatively to our question about whether there was
an increase in workload or volume of investigations. Only a few people mentioned higher demand, including the demand for Maltego online video training.
Most of the time, the respondents we talked to work remotely, outside of the office, therefore, for them the restrictions of self-isolation have not changed too many things. Some of them complained that they have no separate room in their flat which they could use as a home office, so if the quarantine would be extended then it would
be highly desirable to expand their home for the benefit of remote work, as well
as getting additional monitors and laptops. "I like home-made coffee more than
the one in hotels", this cheeky comment has a serious message in fact.
There is another side to it too, though: "It is more difficult to work from home than everyone expected". This was noticed not only by OSINT experts, but also by family people who had not worked like this before. All experts state that video calls are used more often these days. However, such way of communication has its obvious drawbacks – video chats waste a whole lot of time, especially since most of the time
it would be simpler to send an email instead.
Apart from the obvious things like more attention to the statistics of registered
COVID-19 cases and the news about the virus, experts state there is an evident growth
of interest in the economy, as well as future forecasts, civil rights, and the question
of social adaptation.
There is one topic that all experts agree on, fake news. Cases of phishing attacks relating to COVID-19 in particular, have had a noticeable increase. However,
it is misinformation, including the intentional misrepresentation of facts about
the pandemic and everything about the way it spreads or affects people, that
is of the greatest concern.
OSINT investigators are professionals who are used to analyzing information, it's their bread and butter, it's their field of expertise. That is why the avalanche of fake news
that has flooded the world during the pandemic has been particularly evident to them.
All of these experts call for caution and encourage people to avoid unverified and unconfirmed information and advise them to trust only those sources, whose quality no one can doubt.
Phycological research has shown that if a piece of information gets reposted 8 times or if it appears in 5-8 publications, then it starts to be seen as trustworthy. However,
if the news is identified as fake, it is possible to use the method of feedback analysis and reverse promotion to see which resource the fake news was released on, and
even identify the authors at times by determining the original disseminating account.
If this account is found, then the actual people behind it can be located too.
Domain registration details, DNS servers, websites, and personal accounts allow those who spread fake news to be found. Social Links have the methods, tools, and all the rest needed for this.
The experts from our survey are all saying that there are now more OSINT investigations aimed at detecting misinformation. So, it is safe to assume that this
is the beginning of a new trend.
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