Fake news is the deliberate distribution of lies with the goal of swaying public opinion or dividing people. It has gotten the attention of information security professionals because it’s difficult to identify and block — and because it helps spread malware.

“Fake news factories have engaged in operations to influence many citizens whether it is for marketing purposes, purchasing decisions, political instability, or just a misdirection to the real intention,” says Joseph Carson, chief security scientist at password management company Thycotic. “Social media and online services have been the primary victims as the users are now being fed with continuous feeds of information with no way to determine the authenticity of the source or whether is it trustworthy.”

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Is fake news dangerous? Security pros say yes