For years cybersecurity has focused on technical problems, but social-media campaigns to spread bad information about companies is an emerging issue.

Companies are going to need to take even more aggressive steps, such as monitoring social media for disinformation and deepfakes, so that they are aware of potential problems before issues go viral. While research is in its early days, they call defenses against these attacks “cognitive security” or “misinfosec.”

Companies including Washington, D.C.-based Alethea Group specialize in providing early warnings and analysis of online disinformation, helping their clients get a clear picture of online discussions and how to respond to them. Are they dealing with a grass-roots boycott or something more sinister, like disinformation? Is the behavior coordinated? Is a foreign entity behind it? Is the information reaching their customers or not?

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