Fake news are a common reality that is becoming a painfully familiar phenomenon on the frontier of broadcasts worldwide. The ensuing consequences of the publication of fake news are numerous and extremely painful both for the target of the news and the newsmakers themselves.
The war of words, justifications and accusations that follows the publication of a fake piece of news is utterly fruitless in the end, as neither of the parties involved will be able to prove or justify their points of view. It is therefore imperative to conduct proper fact-checking in the spirit of investigations to ensure the credibility of every piece of news being disseminated.
As horrifying as it may seem, but the darkest and most bestial pits of human nature are resurging in the information plain, forcing us to unwillingly recall the famous quote of Dr. Joseph Goebbels "Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth".
Despite the seemingly unstoppable and irrepressible nature of fake news, there are weapons capable of countering them. One of the main instruments in the arsenal of both private entities and authorities is the online medium itself, in which specialized tools can be used to track, trace, identify and neutralize both the sources of the fake news and their effects.
OSINT is the go-to solution for authorities seeking answers to investigating the emergence and origin of fake news.
Social Links helps investigate Open Source & Social Media & Darknet channels, helping interested parties understand who is behind the publication of fake news.
State Of War
The term information war has been in widespread use since the early 2000s, since the internet detracted the attention of people from TV screens. Since then, many areas of the information plain have changed with the eventual emergence of social networks. The process of working with people's opinions has also changed accordingly. It has since become possible to influence the opinions of the masses and make the process considerably cheaper.
The topic of fake information is recurring with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge of news regarding any number of topics related to it, ranging from the number of infected in a certain country to the origin of the virus. The deluge of fakes being published on official and seemingly reputable channels has become frightening and is turning into a heated fighting ring for governments seeking to contradict misleading information about their state of affairs.
When interviewed on the topic of the coronavirus pandemic, OSINT experts around the world have stated that the main point of interest during the spread of COVID-19 is fake news.
Industry experts have stated that the main topics currently being researched are fake news of a geopolitical nature, security breaches, and fake news related to COVID-19.
The top 3 trends related to the spread of COVID-19 are related to fake news, phishing, and video conferencing. The given trends have given rise to a powerful incentive for people to stop listening to news sources after the abundance of fake information being disseminated.
It has even been proven by a study that if some piece of fake news was reposted 8 times or repeated in 5-8 editions, then it is perceived as true. Dr. Goebbels rejoices. People start believing the lie, as it gains the hues of reliable information that is being talked about. This is the basis of human psychology that paves the ground for the information war to rage on.
The Lifecycle of a Fake
The basic lifecycle of fake news has long been determined and analyzed. In essence, it is a logical and consequential string of events that follows the given pattern:
1. Definition of the goal pursued by the news; 2. Audience selection; 3. Selection of people and accounts for the dissemination and start; 4. Determination of justification for dissemination and launch; 5. Native news pickup and viral marketing, reposts and publications snowball.
Such a series of events can be interrupted at some stages, however, given the nature of fake news and their authors, it is extremely difficult to identify and halt the string in a timely manner before the fake piece of news is released. Once the fake news is released, it is often meaningless to issue rebuttals, as the social media and news channels instantly spread the news and solidify it in the minds of audiences as the truth.
The Countering Tools
Just as the tools for releasing fake news have developed, so have the instruments needed to counter them. In fact, both the authorities and media channels have a solid arsenal of tools that they can refer to in combatting the spread of fakes.
The first are monitoring systems that highlight specific topics or keywords in such news and provide analytics based on the number and tonality of mentions of the objects of interest. At this stage, it is important to identify and detect the changes and deviations in the data stream to be certain that a fake news has been released for timely countering.
After the news has been identified, it is already 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.
After having identified the resource, and maybe even the account of the disseminating entity, it is possible try to find real people behind it and take appropriate action.
Social Links has developed the methodology and instruments necessary for searching for those behind the dissemination of fake news and who they are registered to by domain, DNS servers, website, and personal accounts. Most of all fraudsters are caught on the basis of miscalculations on their part in the dissemination process string, and the extensive experience of the Social Links team states that sooner or later the miscalculation will take place.
It is literally enough for one email, phone number or some other parameter in the registration data to be entered, for example, when registering a domain or account, for the source of the fake news to pinpointed. Many of the disseminators have already been identified and caught based on the same algorithm of action.
The task of investigating fake news is very similar to the task of the fact-checking process undertaken by journalists. The recent Spiegel magazine scandal is one bright example, when the reporter of the publication literally invented all of his articles and facts for many years, and no one could catch him for lack of tracing or will to fact-check.
There is an understanding that the use of fake news has reached a global scale and is being applied at the country level for a very specific set of reasons. If earlier, these were methods of leading an unfairly competitive business for beating a competitor, artificially deflating prices and more, the dissemination of fake news has now turned into a method of manipulation and even blackmail at the country level used for putting pressure on "partners" to create the "necessary" public opinion about it.
That is why large companies and states can have no choice but to learn how to weed out seeds from chaff. They need to learn how to elicit such news and conduct open investigations and show the public all the ins and outs of the foul media business, revealing the whole truth.
We live in a digital age and it is impossible to deny the new frontiers of war and freedom to wage it that have been opened. Deleting accounts on social networks, not reading the media and not watching TV, of course, is incredibly difficult, but possible, and sometimes even more beneficial for health and psychological wellbeing.
But the question is whether it is worth it. Instead of shutting our eyes on the world and turning into secluded hermits, we need to develop critical thinking within our own minds, as everything needs to be questioned and verified. It is imperative to check, double check, triple check everything we read. And if, at the level of personalities, everyone does it or not, then at the level of companies and states, there must be a service that will do it on a daily basis.
This is where companies like Social Links come in and offer the necessary package of services for hindering the destructive effects that fake news have on individual perceptions of the world and the world itself.
Some more sources: DocumentCloud, Ebay, Torrents, TruePeopleSearch, Wikileaks, dating sites such as Match, Chemistry, Fling, Meetup, okcupid, ask.fm, rsvp.com.au and others
Social Links Pro details:
Social Links Pro limits:
• 3000 transforms per day • 5000 Face recognition transforms/12 months • 500 transforms Search by Face and Name/ 12 months
Notes: *For commercial 3rd party services you need to purchase the API key separately and add it in the transform manager.
Terms of transform calculation: One transform – when you run transform from one entity. No matter how many results you will get. For Example, run transform Facebook search person and get one Facebook profile. If you select 100 entities (for example, 100 Facebook profiles) and run 1 transform "Get User Friends" it will be 100 transforms. If now you select all Friends of Person $#1 and run again "Get User Friends" you will spend 1000 transforms. It is like geometry progressive. If you need an increased daily limit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Privacy and Security Statement
Collection and Use of information
Social Links collects certain information from you as a result of using our services. That is necessary to set up and maintain accounts, bill for services, and track use of the services to which you have subscribed. Also, Social Links servers will automatically collect certain information during the use of our services. This can include, but is not limited to: your internet protocol address, date and time, and API keys. In the event of a service error, diagnostic logging may temporarily store additional information such as API request parameters. We are not inspect or store data submitted through our servers to third party service providers except in the cases of error logging and troubleshooting described above. This data will never be used by Social Links for any other reason. But it is necessary, as part of our services, to pass through your requests to Partner providers. These requests are seen in aggregate from Social Links by such Partners and are not directly attributable back to you. We use the information collected and described above to provide, maintain, protect and enrich our services, for developing a new one, and to care about our product and our users. When you contact Social Links, we may keep a record of your communication to help solve any issues you might be facing or requests you may submit. We can use your email address to inform you about our services and offers.
We will not share the personal information that have collected from you, except the next moments:
with Partners who are working with us in connection with the operation of our site or our services;
only when you give us your consent to do so, including if we notify you that the information you provide will be shared in a particular manner and you provide such information;
when we believe in good faith that we are lawfully authorized or required to do so or that doing so is reasonably necessary or appropriate to comply with the law or legal processes or respond to lawful requests or legal authorities, including responding to lawful subpoenas, warrants or court orders;
in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing or acquisition, or in any other situation where personal information may be disclosed or transferred as one of our business assets.
Social Links will provide you with an API key to engage in use of our Services. You are responsible for keeping the API key confidential and should not to share it with anyone outside of your company. We use only reasonable and appropriate protections and procedural safeguards to ensure that personal information is not misused or accessed without authorization.
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End-User License Agreement ("Agreement")
Please read this End-User License Agreement ("Agreement") carefully before clicking the "I Agree" button, downloading or using Social Links Transforms for Maltego ("Application").
By clicking the "I Agree" button, downloading or using the Application, you are agreeing to be bound by the terms and conditions of this Agreement.
This Agreement is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single entity) and Social Links Software BV and it governs your use of the Application made available to you by Social Links Software BV.
If you do not agree to the terms of this Agreement, do not click on the "I Agree" button and do not download or use the Application.
The Application is licensed, not sold, to you by Social Links Software BV for use strictly in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.
Social Links Software BV grants you an irrevocable, non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited license to download, install and use the Application strictly in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.
You agree not to, and you will not permit others to:
modify, make derivative works of, disassemble, decrypt, reverse compile or reverse engineer any part of the Application.
remove, alter or obscure any proprietary notice (including any notice of copyright or trademark) of Social Links Software BV or its affiliates, partners, suppliers or the licensors of the Application
Modifications to Application
Social Links Software BV reserves the right to modify, suspend or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Application or any service to which it connects, with or without notice and without liability to you.
Updates to Application
Social Links Software BV may from time to time provide enhancements or improvements to the features/functionality of the Application, which may include patches, bug fixes, updates, upgrades and other modifications ("Updates"). Updates may modify or delete certain features and/or functionalities of the Application. You agree that Social Links Software BV has no obligation to (i) provide any Updates, or (ii) continue to provide or enable any particular features and/or functionalities of the Application to you.
You further agree that all Updates will be (i) deemed to constitute an integral part of the Application, and (ii) subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.
The Application may display, include or make available third-party content (including data, information, applications, and other products services) or provide links to third-party websites or services ("Third-Party Services"). You acknowledge and agree that Social Links Software BV shall not be responsible for any Third-Party Services, including their accuracy, completeness, timeliness, validity, copyright compliance, legality, decency, quality or any other aspect thereof. Social Links Software BV does not assume and shall not have any liability or responsibility to you or any other person or entity for any Third-Party Services.
Third-Party Services and links thereto are provided solely as a convenience to you and you access and use them entirely at your own risk and subject to such third parties' terms and conditions.
Term and Termination
This Agreement shall remain in effect until terminated by you or Social Links Software BV. Social Links Software BV may, in its sole discretion, at any time and for any or no reason, suspend or terminate this Agreement with or without prior notice.
This Agreement will terminate immediately, without prior notice from Social Links Software BV, in the event that you fail to comply with any provision of this Agreement. You may also terminate this Agreement by deleting the Application and all copies thereof from your mobile device or from your computer.
Upon termination of this Agreement, you shall cease all use of the Application and delete all copies of the Application from your mobile device or from your computer.
Termination of this Agreement will not limit any of Social Links Software BV's rights or remedies at law or in equity in case of breach by you (during the term of this Agreement) of any of your obligations under the present Agreement.
Amendments to this Agreement
Social Links Software BV reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify or replace this Agreement at any time. If a revision is a material we will provide at least 30 days' notice prior to any new terms taking effect. What constitutes a material change will be determined at our sole discretion. By continuing to access or use our Application after any revisions become effective, you agree to be bound by the revised terms. If you do not agree to the new terms, you are no longer authorized to use the Application.
The laws of the Netherlands, excluding its conflicts of law rules, shall govern this Agreement and your use of the Application. Your use of the Application may also be subject to other local, state, national, or international laws.
If you have any questions about this Agreement, please contact us.
Entire Agreement The Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between you and Social Links Software BV regarding your use of the Application and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous written or oral agreements between you and Social Links Software BV. You may be subject to additional terms and conditions that apply when you use or purchase other Social Links Software BV's services, which Social Links Software BV will provide to you at the time of such use or purchase.
DATA PROCESSING AGREEMENT ("DPA")
In the course of Processing Relevant Personal Data (defined below) in connection with the Agreement, Social Links Software BV and User agree to comply with this DPA, each acting reasonably and in good faith. In the event of a conflict, in relation to the Processing of Relevant Personal Data, between this DPA and the remainder of the Agreement, this DPA shall prevail. Any capitalized term used but not defined in this DPA shall have the meaning set forth elsewhere in the Agreement.
The following capitalized terms used in this DPA shall have the meanings given to them below:
"Appropriate technical and organizational measures," "Controller," "Data Subject, "Processor," "Processing," "Personal Data," and "Supervisory Authority," have the meaning given to them by applicable Data Protection Laws.
"User Personal Data" means, to the extent it is Personal Data under applicable Data Protection Laws, User Data, User Information, Feedback and any other data disclosed by User to Social Links Software BV in connection with the Agreement.
"Data Protection Laws" means: (a) Regulation (EU) 2016/679, Directive 95/46/EC, Directive 2002/58/EC and Directive 2009/136/EC, together with any national implementing laws in any member state of the European Union; and (b) any equivalent legislation, or legislation dealing with the same subject matter, anywhere in the world; each as applicable to either party and each as amended, repealed, consolidated or replaced from time to time.
"Social Links Software BV Personal Data" means any data disclosed by Social Links Software BV to User in connection with the Agreement which is Personal Data under applicable Data Protection Laws.
"Relevant Personal Data" means Social Links Software BV Personal Data and User Personal Data.
"Sub-processor" means any Processor engaged by the Processor Party (defined in Section 2.3 below) to Process Relevant Personal Data in accordance with and as permitted by the Agreement.
2. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARTIES
2.1 Both parties shall, in connection with the Agreement, only Process Relevant Personal Data in accordance with the requirements of applicable Data Protection Laws.
2.2 The parties hereby acknowledge and agree that either party may, from time to time, as expressly permitted by the Agreement, act as a Controller in respect of Relevant Personal Data it receives from the other party[, in which case the party receiving the Relevant Personal Data shall:
only Process the Relevant Personal Data for limited and specified purposes consistent with the consent provided by the Data Subject or another lawful basis under applicable Data Protection Laws;
provide the same level of protection for the Relevant Personal Data as the Privacy Shield Principles, not including the requirement to be a Privacy Shield organization or have an independent recourse mechanism, provided it makes available an equivalent mechanism; and
if it makes a determination that it can no longer provide protection in accordance with Section 2.2(b), notify the other party and cease Processing or take other reasonable and appropriate steps to remediate.
2.3 The parties hereby acknowledge and agree that, in the event that a party Processes Relevant Personal Data on behalf of the other party, the party performing such Processing shall be a Processor (the "Processor Party") on behalf of the other party (the "Controller Party"). The Processor Party shall, in relation to such Processing:
Process Relevant Personal Data (including any transfers of Relevant Personal Data to recipients located outside the European Economic Area) only for limited and specified purposes on behalf of and in accordance with the Controller Party's prior written instructions, which shall be deemed to include an instruction to Process Relevant Personal Data as necessary to perform the Processor Party's obligations under the Agreement, unless such instruction is amended in writing by the Controller Party;
if at any point the Processor Party is unable to comply with the Controller Party's instructions regarding the Processing of Relevant Personal Data (whether as a result of a change in applicable Data Protection Laws, or a change in the Controller Party's instructions, or howsoever), the Processor Party shall promptly: (i) notify the Controller Party of such inability, providing a reasonable level of detail as to the instructions with which it cannot comply and the reasons why it cannot comply, to the greatest extent permitted by applicable law; and (ii) cease all Processing of the affected Relevant Personal Data (other than merely storing and maintaining the security of the affected Relevant Personal Data) until such time as the Controller Party issues new instructions with which the Processor Party is able to comply;
ensure that its employees, officers, representatives, advisers or consultants, and any Sub-processors, have committed themselves to ensuring the confidentiality of all Relevant Personal Data that they Process;
implement appropriate technical and organizational measures, taking into account in particular the risks presented by Processing, in particular from accidental or unlawful loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure or access to Relevant Personal Data. Such measures shall ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk;
in each instance in which the Processor Party engages a Sub-processor: (i) only appoint such Sub-processor in accordance with the prior written authorization of the Controller Party (such authorization not to be unreasonably withheld, conditioned or delayed), including as permitted pursuant to the Agreement; (ii) keep the Controller Party informed of any change to the role or status of any Sub-processor; (iii) enter into a binding written agreement with the Sub-processor that imposes on the Sub-processor the same obligations that apply to the Processor Party under the Agreement, including this DPA, with respect to the Processing of Relevant Personal Data; and (iv) remain primarily liable and responsible for the acts and omissions of each Sub-processor that breach such Sub-processor's data protection obligations as if they were acts and omissions of the Processor Party;
at the Controller Party's request and expense, promptly provide the Controller Party with all reasonable assistance necessary to respond appropriately to requests from Data Subjects to exercise their rights;
taking into account the nature of the Processing, assist the Controller Party by appropriate technical and organizational measures, insofar as this is possible, for the fulfillment of the Controller Party's obligation to respond to requests for exercising a data subject's rights under applicable Data Protection Laws;
promptly provide the Controller Party with all information necessary to enable the Controller Party to demonstrate compliance with its obligations under Applicable Data Protection Laws, to the extent that the Processor Party is able to provide such information;
(i) permanently and securely delete (or, at the election of the Controller Party, return) all Relevant Personal Data in the possession or control of the Processor Party or any of its Sub-processors, within thirty (30) calendar days after the termination or expiration of the Agreement, unless otherwise required by any applicable law of the EU or an member state of the EU; and (ii) procure that its Sub-processors shall do the same;
at the Controller Party's request and expense: (i) promptly provide the Controller Party with all information necessary to enable the Controller Party to demonstrate compliance with its obligations under applicable Data Protection Laws, to the extent that the Processor Party is able to provide such information; and (ii) allow for and contribute to audits, conducted by the Controller Party or an independent auditor selected by the Controller Party and bound by a duty of confidentiality, including inspection, of any documentation, responses to questions and other written information reasonably requested by the Controller Party or such auditor;
upon the Controller Party's reasonable request, promptly provide the Controller Party with all reasonable assistance necessary to enable the Controller Party to: (i) notify relevant breaches of applicable Data Protection Laws to the relevant Supervisory Authorities and/or affected Data Subjects; and (ii) obtain any necessary authorizations from Supervisory Authorities;
provide at least the same level of privacy protection as is required by the Privacy Shield Principles and, upon reasonable notice, undertake reasonable and appropriate steps to stop and remediate unauthorized Processing;
notify the Controller Party if the Processor Party makes a determination that it can no longer meet its obligation to provide the same level of protection as is required by the Privacy Shield Principles;
Process the Personal Data in a manner consistent with the Controller Party's obligations (if any) under the Privacy Shield Principles; and
taking into account the nature of the Processing, assist the Controller Party in responding to individuals exercising their rights under the Privacy Shield Principles.