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Innovation in Information Security

Coverage of important Information Security and Information Technology news and events from the research team at S?nnet Beskerming.

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Failure to Check Sources = Costly Market Loss

Apple Inc's market value recently lost $4 billion USD in a matter of minutes, following the posting of a fake email to a popular tech blog site. Claiming to originate from within Apple, the fake email indicated that Apple's iPhone and Leopard operating system will be significantly delayed in coming to market. A later, official, email from Apple negated the fake message, and indicated that both products would still be on track for their planned release dates.

Poor information validation is a problem that is all-too common for companies and groups that depend on being the first to break news on important events (and for Information Security vendors as well). When there is a single source of material a judgement call needs to be made in order to determine whether appropriate trust can be placed in the report.

Intelligence agencies and major news aggregators (most of them, at least) will generally place a lower level of trust in single-source reporting, even if the material is 100% accurate. Because there is no corroborating reporting from other sources, they will generally avoid staking a reliable claim on the information (hence some of the problems commonly associated with Intelligence bodies and reporting aggregators).

This painful lesson is something that bloggers and other smaller groups need to be aware of, especially if they have not already been exposed to the practice of evaluating sources from a larger news organisation or Intelligence body.

18 May 2007

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