Published on 25 Sep 2021

From black ops to bots - countering hostile meddling by foreign actors

The Straits Times, page A22 -

Today, one does not need to establish a newspaper or media outlet to mislead Singaporeans, stir up disharmony, or undermine public trust. Social media bots - automated programs used to mimic human users - have amplified controversial issues during elections around the world, sought to stoke sentiments in disputes between Singapore and other countries, and more recently, spread disinformation on Covid-19 vaccines globally. “The tools of foreign interference have expanded significantly in the information age,” says Asst Prof Michael Raska, a cyber warfare expert at the RSIS in NTU. The fight against hostile information campaigns is a cat-and-mouse game with malicious actors constantly adapting their modus operandi to fly under the radar, says Assoc Prof Alton Chua, associate chair of research at NTU's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.