First Monday

First Monday is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals solely devoted to research about the Internet. First Monday has published 1,813 papers in 271 issues, written by 2,524 different authors, over the past 22 years. No subscription fees, no submission fees, no advertisements, no fundraisers, no walls.

This month: December 2018
A simulated cyberattack on Twitter: Assessing partisan vulnerability to spear phishing and disinformation ahead of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections
State-sponsored “bad actors” increasingly weaponize social media platforms to launch cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns during elections. This study conducted an automated spear phishing and disinformation campaign on Twitter ahead of the 2018 United States midterm elections. A fake news bot account — the @DCNewsReport — was created to automatically send customized tweets with a “breaking news” link to 138 Twitter users, before being restricted by Twitter. Overall, one in five users clicked the link, which could have potentially led to the downloading of ransomware or the theft of private information. The link in this experiment was non-malicious and redirected users to a Google Forms survey. In predicting users’ likelihood to click the link, no statistically significant differences were observed between right-wing and left-wing partisans, or between Web users and mobile users. The findings signal that politically expressive Americans on Twitter are at risk of being spear phished on social media.
Also this month
Distributed, privacy-enhancing technologies in the 2017 Catalan referendum on independence: New tactics and models of participatory democracy
This paper examines new civic engagement practices unfolding during the 2017 referendum on independence in Catalonia. These practices constitute one of the first signs of some emerging trends in the use of the Internet for civic and political action: the adoption of horizontal, distributed, and privacy-enhancing technologies that rely on P2P networks and advanced cryptographic tools. In this regard, the case of the 2017 Catalan referendum can be considered a first-of-its kind in participatory democracy. The case also offers an opportunity to reflect on an interesting paradox that twenty-first century activism will face: the more it will rely on private-friendly, secured, and encrypted networks, the more open, inclusive, ethical, and transparent it will need to be.



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