You may have heard of the term ‘fake news’ being thrown around within the past few months but it’s important to know which of the news stories you read online are real – and which aren’t.
According to a recent survey, 86% of Brits admitted to not being able to tell the difference between real and fake news. 68% said that they don’t completely trust the information they read online bbut it doesn’t stop them from spreading potentially manipulated data.
The survey of 2,000 adults, conducted by cyber security expert McAfee, found that 70% of people don’t fact-check the information they share online, meaning they potentially contribute to the spread of fake viral news.
Chief Scientist and Fellow at McAfee, Raj Samani, commented: “This is an obvious problem for individuals as well as the wider society,” said Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and Fellow at McAfee.
“Sharing information that we do not 100% trust, without fact checking is a dangerous practice. We have seen instances of stolen and manipulated data being commissioned to assassinate characters and disrupt democracy.
“As well as fuelling the fake news fire, we could be inadvertently spreading malicious activity and supporting cybercrime. Sites that peddle fake news are often behind cyber-attacks such as ransomware and phishing.”
He also offered the following tips to prevent internet users from spreading the fake news:
Do your research: Conduct a quick Google search to find out if any large publications have commented or reported on the story. If trust-worthy sites aren’t covering it, it’s likely to be fake news.
Don’t click it: If you’re in doubt, don’t click the news stories that you suspect could be fake. Not only does the link have the potential to spread malware, but fake news could cause damage to your device.
Look at the URL: Often, fraudsters will attempt to tamper with a link to make it look like it’s from a reputable site. Take a close look at any links before clicking them and if you spot a typo, error or change in the format of the typical URL, don’t click it.