We're cheating on you: on the hunt for scammers

We're fooling you: hunting down scammers


The titlecould not be clearer: We are deceiving [you]! The Web has become a vast field of cybernetic battles, a Wild West where all dirty tricks are allowed. Not a day goes by without us being challenged by scam attempts, each more subtle than the next. False friendship requests, false complaints, false accusations, false love proposals, intimidation, blackmail, extortion, etc. 

Who hasn't been caught at least once before to learn and think twice before pressing the button? 

“No one is immune to a moment of inattention or a strong emotional reaction to an issue that is particularly close to our hearts.” 

The less fortunate sometimes lost a small fortune there. And it's not just individuals who are targeted, several companies, municipalities, hospitals, transport companies have been the target of these unscrupulous professionals, who often demand to be paid in cryptocurrency and other bitcoins. .

The people of Crypto.Québec – they are real people: journalist, sociologist, doctor, etc., and they do not hide behind anonymity – have given themselves the mission of flushing out manipulation and fraud on the internet; they work in what is called cybersecurity and offer us here “a course of self-defense against the threats to which we are exposed on the Web”. 

Disinform< /p>

The pandemic and the ensuing insecurity have sparked an avalanche of fake news based on QAnon-esque conspiracy theories – “one of the biggest conspiracy theory ‘games’, having managed to convince up to members of American political parties, celebrities and even a few radio hosts in Quebec” – so much so that even the most seasoned have sometimes fallen for it. 

According to the authors, “the Canada is said to be home to one of the largest communities of followers of this cult.

Our quality of life is also greatly affected by this phenomenon of misinformation, which sparks debate and controversy within our communities. It suffices to speak, for example, of vaccination for conspiracy theories to immediately monopolize all the attention and prohibit any sensible discussion. Hello nuance and make way for discord, social isolation and loss of confidence in our institutions. 

Thus, “49% of Canadians believe that journalists try to deliberately cheat them” .

With supporting evidence, the authors demonstrate how fake news, what we call disinformation, is made for commercial and/or political purposes. And how, in good faith, we contribute to spreading them without having bothered to verify their authenticity, which is called misinformation. 

They also review all the ways of which we produce and distribute a news item, according to the point of view that we intend to put forward, what are called cognitive biases and cognitive compromises (“accepting an element that is not totally in agreement with our beliefs and values ​​because the presence of this element justifies something greater in the sum of our construction of the world”).

Fighting the clicks

We learn that the fight for the most clicks is fierce and that it pays big dividends for content-producing companies. 

Russians would largely dominate the Facebook sphere, beating all American companies in the development of content produced in what the authors call “content factories”. 

The authors tell us therefore warn against the new gurus and other prophets proliferating on social networks. 

Today, “they can reach the entire planet thanks to the Internet”. 

< p>Their comments, often hateful and radical, tend to reach vulnerable audiences.

Furthermore, and this should worry us, “the collection and analysis of our data is constantly increasing and evolving. and no watchdog has yet been set up. The greatest vigilance is needed more than ever, conclude the authors.