Study Guide



            1.   Hoax


A hoax is false, deliberately deceptive information.


Internet hoaxes and chain letters are e-mail messages written with one purpose; to be sent to everyone you know. The messages they contain are usually untrue. A few of the sympathy messages do describe a real situation but that situation was resolved years ago so the message is not valid and has not been valid for many years. Hoax messages try to get you to pass them on to everyone you know using several different methods of social engineering. Most of the hoax messages play on your need to help other people. (Computer Incident Advisory Capability, U.S. Dept. of Energy)


2.   How to Recognize a Hoax


According to CIAC there are two known factors that make a hoax successful, they are:


1. Technical sounding language

2. Credibility by association


If the warning uses the proper technical jargon, most individuals, including technologically savvy individuals, tend to believe the warning is real.

Credibility by association refers to who sent the warning.


3.  Critical Evaluation of Resources on the Internet


According to the University of Alberta, unlike most books and journal articles, which undergo a peer review process prior to publication, anyone can publish anything on the Internet. For that reason, it is imperative to critically evaluate all information taken from resources on the Internet.


There are 5 evaluation criterion:


      1. Scope and Subject Matter

      2. Authority

      3. Currency and Completeness

      4. Design

      5. Ease of Use

4.      Social Engineering on the Internet

Social engineering is the creative mixing of truth, half-truths, or lies in order to extract information from you or encourage you to take a particular action. It happens every minute of every day in a variety of ways.

Social engineering skill is often colloquially referred to as good advertising, spin doctoring, or "hacking the wetware." Successful social engineering ploys do everything from luring you into divulging your credit card number over the phone, cajoling your boss into giving you a raise, or persuading you to buy a particular product or service. When social engineering is practiced with malicious intent, it's referred to as scamming or pulling a mark, and in the worst cases it is a federal offense. (Miyake, Jon. Computing News)

5.  Urban Legends


Urban legends are popular narratives alleged to be true, transmitted from person to person by oral or written communication (including fax and email). Said stories always involve some combination of outlandish, humiliating, humorous, terrifying, or supernatural events which always happened to someone else. For credibility, the teller of an urban legend relies on good storytelling and the citing of an "authoritative" word-of-mouth source (typically "a friend of a friend”) rather than verifiable facts. And sometimes, but not always, there’s a moral to the story, e.g.: “behave yourself, or bad things will happen.”


Urban legends are a type of folklore the traditions, stories, and beliefs of "the folk" ordinary people. So, one way to differentiate between urban legends and other types of narratives is by examining where they come from and how they are spread. Legends are rarely traceable to a single source, e.g. a book or a television show in fact, most often they seem to spring from nowhere. And again, urban legends are primarily spread person to person, not through the media or other institutional forms of communication. That's why no two versions of an urban legend are ever exactly alike there are as many variants of a story as there are tellers. (David Emery, About.com)


5. Folklore


Folklore is an often unsupported notion, story, or saying that is widely circulated.

Folklore and folklife (including traditional arts, belief, traditional ways of work and leisure, adornment and celebrations) are cultural ways in which a group maintains and passes on a shared way of life. This "group identity" may be defined by age, gender, ethnicity, avocation, region, occupation, religion, socioeconomic niche, or any other basis of association. (nyfolklore.org)  

6.   What is Slacktivism?


According to Snopes.com Slacktivism is the search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society's rescue without actually getting one's hands dirty, volunteering any of one's time, or opening one's wallet.


Slacktivism is formed out of the words slacker and activism, and describes people who are activists but who do not engage in much physical activity to further their cause. "Slactivists", as they are called, may also be referred to as “armchair activists” or “latte-activists” and are derided for a lack of "commitment to the cause" or "being willing to take the extra step". Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, 2005.



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