Social Engineering: Media Manipulation

Okay, boys and girls, today we are going to get on the bus, Ms. Frizzle’s magic school bus (by the way, fun fact: did you know that Ms. Frizzle’s first name is Valerie?). Once onboard she will drop us off in the early 2000s. While there, we will be examining an old-school technique for media manipulation and how some of these sorts of tricks can still occur today. 

In the Internet’s younger years, search engines were still trying to figure things out. How do you present relevant data when someone typed something into Google or, throwback Thursday: AskJeeves? In those days, Google used reasonably simple search algorithms to display data with what they believed to be the most sought-after information being closest to the top of the page (stack ranking). So if you wanted your website or content to appear at the top of the generic search, you had to do something to get it there. 

How Did You Get to the Top of Google 15 Years Ago? 

Enter, Google bombing. Google bombing took advantage of the algorithm Google put in place to push your site to the top of the generic search results (just below the advertisements). 

It worked by having multiple websites linking a keyword back to the site you wanted to see higher in the Google search results. A great example of this had numerous websites linking the phrase “miserable failure” to George W. Bush’s biography. What happened then was anytime someone would type “miserable failure” into Google, they would see George W. Bush at the top of the results. Silly? Yes, but fairly harmless. In this particular case, the apparent motives were political.

However, this wasn’t the only account of Google bombing. Search engine results for religious groups, civic organizations, and (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Cylance Blog authored by Chris Stephen. Read the original post at: