Manipulating the media and black SEO techniques presented at AUScert 2009

by Patrick Gray,

Summary : The brave new world of social media has been lauded as the best thing since sliced toast by every Twittering, Slashdotting Diggiot on the planet.
There are, however, some drawbacks. For example, if enough people blog, Digg, or Twitter something, it's generally accepted as fact, and accepted quickly.
US-comedian Stephen Colbert described the phenominon as wikiality:'together we can create a reality that we all agree on—the reality we just agreed on,' Colbert explains. 'Any user can change any entry, and if enough users agree with them, it becomes true.'
That quote, somewhat ironically, was sourced from a Wikipedia entry.
A story 'dug' by as few as 1250 accounts on can translate into millions of page views. But what if those 'Diggs' came from false accounts assembled via a botnet? What if the article it linked to was cobbled together using cross-site-scripting? And what if that bogus piece of content falsly claimed your company was facing bankruptcy or under investigation for 'regulatory irregularities'?
During this presentation, technology journalist Patrick Gray argues wikiality can be engineered by those with a bit of know-how. Take one botnet, some cross site scripting vulnerabilities, a few TinyURLs and a hacked Twitter account, and shake. Drizzle over a well-crafted message designed to crash a share price, stir in some well-positioned misinformation and some black-hat SEO, short the stock and serve.
Not only will attendees get a glimpse at what some organised, financially motivated bad guys could do to their company's share price, but they'll learn what they can do to mitigate the damage these theoretical attacks could cause.