In addition to canceling culture and politics, one of the most severe dangers lurking in the shadows of the internet is the defamation business, which has become more sophisticated. Unsuspecting individuals are all too often the targets of websites that spread defamatory and frequently unsubstantiated information about them. This incorrect and vilifying material remains on the internet in perpetuity, and it has the potential to tarnish an otherwise clean reputation.
It is possible to blackmail, defame, or steal identities using personal information that is freely accessible on the internet. What is the impact of these websites on individuals, and how can victims fight back? The only option may be to hire a firm that specializes in erasing the digital traces of innocent people who have been wrongfully accused.
Laura Hoffner, head of staff at Concentric Advisors, a security and risk management company, says that “in an era when digital reputation is everything, online presence and digital footprints have become of the greatest significance.”
Because the slander business targets certain geographic areas, the intended impression is that there is nothing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of slander. She, on the other hand, warns that this is not the case. First and foremost, sufferers may take use of a service that will help them discover what is currently available. Victims may then make informed choices about what material to remove from the internet and what information should stay publicly accessible.
“The important thing to remember is that you have a choice. “You have the ability to retain control over your digital footprint and, therefore, your online identity,” Hoffner told TechNewsWorld in an interview.
If a website slanders you, all is not lost, according to Hoffner’s judgment. This is not just a marketing bluster. She served as a naval intelligence officer for 12 years, assisting special operations forces all around the world. The Navy Reserves accepted Lt. Commander Hoffner’s transfer into the Reserves, and he began working for Concentric in the autumn of 2020.
The Slander Network is expanding.
The existence of an ecosystem of websites whose main goal is to harm people’s reputations, as many victims can testify, has been verified by Max Anderson, engagement officer at Concentric. However, the ultimate goal is more than just destroying people’s online reputations.
The distributors of defamation, like the apparently incessant instances of ransomware attacks, are primarily concerned with earning money.
“The proprietors of these websites do not really care about the reputation of any individual.
“Their aim is to take advantage of a victim’s sense of self-worth and the motive of the perpetrator,” he said to TechNewsWorld.
He acknowledged that security companies that specialize in defamation eradication or reputation management services may be legal enterprises. Some so-called clean-up services, on the other hand, are no better than the slanderers themselves.
“There are genuine service providers that assist customers who have been targeted by individuals with malicious intentions with reputation management problems,” Anderson said.
Effectively combating this issue, on the other hand, is time-consuming and very expensive. He advised that any business promising to remove your information from a defamatory website for a few hundred dollars is likely to be the same company that posted your information in the first place, as was the case with the service he used.
According to Anderson, “even if they are not owned by the same individuals, the website owner and the information removal specialists are working closely together to share revenues.”
The Impact of Online Reputation Can Be Devastating.
Today, we live in a world that is entirely digital. A person’s internet profile is always being scrutinized by potential employers, friends, family, and romantic partners.
It may be simple to explain away a single bad message. However, as Anderson pointed out, it becomes far more difficult to protect your reputation when a defamatory piece about you has been taken up by a number of other websites.
“The harm is more about the volume than the substance,” he said.
The quantity of personal information collects on social media and internet data banks is often underestimated by the general public. The activities of people’s families and businesses are often intertwined with one another.
Bad actors may publish arrogant comments and make misleading claims without fear of facing legal or public repercussions for their actions. Photographs from family gatherings and involvement in a range of activities give the slander operators with a lot of information that they may twist into believable stories.
A strong dedication, as well as the ability to remain resilient in the face of intimidation, are required to repair a slander victim’s digital reputation. A more effective protective strategy is to prevent slander from occurring in the first place. This may be accomplished by securing the flow of information that you yourself have planted on the internet.
“It’s critical to keep an eye out for and respond to any bad reputational information as soon as it emerges,” Anderson said.
Getting Ready for Battle
Anderson has observed that slanderous writings have a tendency to spread rapidly. Concentric employs a proactive approach for its customers in order to stay one step ahead of possible threats.
Concentric, for example, perform frequent surveillance of its customers’ online activities on social media and the open web. The aim is to identify and notify customers of potentially problematic components before they become an issue.
Moreover, we have a technology called Concentric360, which allows us to extract Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from over 300 data brokerage sites. Someone doxing (or doxxing) you or stealing your identity will have a far more difficult time succeeding. Moreover, we can detect and delete imposter social media profiles,” he said.
Of course, additional methods are required to safeguard people’s personal information in a proactive manner in the future. For example, Concentric’s intelligence teams keep an eye out for discussions regarding the company’s customers that are posted online. Its digital privacy specialists are on the lookout for and removing information that may be considered compromising.
“If you can locate the information and remove it as soon as possible, your efforts will be very effective. “When content is spread over many websites, which are then indexed by search engines, the issue becomes increasingly difficult to resolve,” Anderson said.
Reduce the possibility of doxing.
Dropping papers (also known as Doxing) is a genuine issue that will not go away anytime soon. The word Doxing comes from the phrase “dropping documents.”
Doxing is defined as the gathering of a person’s private information across various platforms by an unauthorized individual without their knowledge or consent. The “doxer” then publishes the information in an effort to humiliate or disgrace the individual or business that has provided the information.
Obtaining the information is simple and maybe accomplished via public databases, hacking, or social engineering. According to cybersecurity experts, one of the most effective methods to defend oneself from a doxing assault is to exercise control over what you say online.
Without a doubt, you have the right to express yourself freely. However, you have the option of limiting your exposure and refraining from providing prospective attackers with a wealth of information about yourself.
It is critical that you exercise caution while posting information on the internet. Attempts to hide your real identify under a pseudonym on social media and other online forums are almost never successful. You may be certain that hackers can sneak a look behind the veil of so-called anonymity and cast a bad light on you.
Don’t Put Your Trust in Digital Security
The defamation business may very well be considered a subcategory of online fraud in its own right. There is a connection between cyber-security risks and many of the methods for reducing them.
An important flaw in today’s approach to cybersecurity risk is that the security measures that are being implemented are no longer effective at protecting customers from fraud, according to Robert McKay, senior vice president for risk solutions at Neustar, a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions.
he told TechNewsWorld. “Most fraud-fighting initiatives are based on the assumption that people’s online and offline data is safe, and that is simply not true anymore.”
A hacker has gained access to the data of almost every business that maintains personally identifiable information, according to the expert. That implies that scammers may buy personally identifiable information (PII) from anybody on the dark web.
Because of the widespread availability of this information, any type of authentication system that relies on an individual’s knowledge of personal information — such as a social security number or email address — to determine whether or not that individual is who they claim to be will be rendered ineffective as a result.
Additionally, the same holds true for the allegedly more hidden knowledge-based authentication (KBA) information that is usually utilized in challenge questions. That information is easily obtained by fraudsters via social media activity (all those online quizzes! ), or by personally engaging with the target in order to acquire it through social engineering.
Perhaps a word of caution is in order at this point. Now, before it’s too late, go through your belongings and clear out any personal information that has accumulated. Passwords and cyber software do nothing to safeguard your personally identifiable information (PII) while you are online.