How Fake News and Information Laundering Threaten Homeland Security

Katelyn Mason and Sam Korta discuss the importance of how state and non-state actors manipulate real world events to propagate narratives that influence and divide the American public. This is further complicated by the enablers and amplifiers of the online ecosystem for financial or ideological purposes. Information laundering is becoming easier with advancing technologies. deep fakes, micro targeting and manipulating cognitive biases. This is a problem that demands awareness of the problems and also what agencies are doing to mitigate these problems. The EU has been working on a voluntary code of conduct that addresses a standalone threat that both the public and private sector need to pay attention to. Education and inoculation are required to help all of us become more effective in becoming more resilient in recognizing how disinformation affects us at every level.

February 18, 2020, Annual CHDS Alumni APEX Workshop, Monterey, CA.

About the Speakers

Samantha “Sam” Korta is a cybersecurity advisor with Deloitte & Touche’s Risk and Financial Advisory practice. She is the former Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center, where she directed tactical, operational, and strategic activities, including criminal, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity efforts for a statewide intelligence organization operating within a national network. She has 13+ years of experience developing high performing teams, building sustainable interagency and cross-sector partnerships, and leveraging innovative solutions within complex and ambiguous environments. Sam helps organizations make strategic, future-focused decisions, especially for challenges that arise at the intersection between technology and people, including the identification and management of risks from online misinformation and disinformation campaigns. Sam is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security master’s program where she served as class president and received the Outstanding Thesis Award for her thesis titled Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, and Lies: An Information Laundering Model for Homeland Security.

Katie Mason is a Lead Intelligence Analyst for the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center in San Francisco, a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security master’s program, and a recent participant in the DHS/ODNI sponsored public and private sector analytical exchange program. She oversees a team of analysts responsible for processing incoming suspicious activity reports, sharing timely information with the appropriate partners or agencies, supporting federal terrorism investigations, processing requests for information, and providing in depth case support for criminal investigations. Her research for her master’s thesis and the DHS/ODNI analytical exchange program (not yet available) is focused on national security implications of targeted disinformation campaigns and strategy to mitigate or counteract it.

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