Reuters acknowledged that on August 3rd, their blogging platform was hacked and a false, pro-Assad post was published. “Reuters.com was a target of a hack on Friday,” the company said in a statement. “Our blogging platform was compromised and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists.” Additionally, Reuters Twitter account was hacked and used to tweat several false, and pro-Assad messages. While this type of propaganda has been going on for as long as news has been published, the ease of which a person or group can publish on the Internet coupled with the speed at which it can spread creates new challenges for companies. Imagine a situation in which a company is hacked and fraudulent financial data is released before an IPO? As the US Presidential elections ramp up, we are seeing increasing numbers of stories and claims that can only be categorized as propaganda. In fact, unless you clicked on the links above and checked the underlying domains, you have no real confidence that this particular post is true, or accurate.
It is important for companies to monitor the news that is being distributed about the organization. I have worked at an organization where we found someone who had intentionally published misleading and malicious information in an attempt to promote a competitor. While it did not require hacking a news system to publish the story, it is yet another area that exposes companies to unnecessary risk.