Disarm cyber disinformation attacks

Fund Size: $100,000 USD paid in Ada

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Campaign Brief

In a proof of stake system with distributed governance a common understanding of truth and reliance on authentic sources of correct and provable information can be crucial for avoiding a splitting of the community into two or more feuding camps.

A distributed denial-of-truth (DDoT) attack could be defined as a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal operations of a community, service or network by overwhelming the target, its surrounding infrastructure and community with a flood of disinformation and malinformation.

Disinformation is fabricated or deliberately manipulated audio/visual/text content, intentionally created conspiracy theories or rumors or to sow mistrust. With disinformation the bad information is spread with the intent to deceive.

Malinformation is the deliberate publication of information for personal or corporate rather than public interest. Deliberate change of context, date or time of genuine content.

These DDoT attack scenarios may emerge as a combined outside/inside attack and spread faster in fiercely tribal communities, such as a cryptocurrency community. A DDoT attack might overwhelm a system with false information, leading to a plunge in confidence / community split.

“Right now everybody is implicitly assuming that the only possible victim is an election,” says David Perlman, a former Twitter Inc. data scientist who is now developing ways for corporations to counter disinformation at the computer security company Leviathan Security Group Inc. “There’s no reason that a company couldn’t be a victim,” he says.*

A bad faith player may secretly prepare for this scenario out of particular interests that are not publicly visible initially. This can be done with the help of some major holders/exchanges/rival coins/investors and/or media personalities.

We are all aware how a single person (Elon Musk) is already able to move crypto markets, while a handful of prominent Cardano personas with outside support might be able to do the same.

Proposers in this challenge would focus on improving the transparency of all segments of Cardano treasury monetary transfers and make “beginner-friendly” tutorials on how to monitor financial events from the very inception of Cardano and its main founding entities.

Proposers would also focus on shining a powerful light on old and new attempts to game the system, further scams, fleece users, sow distrust, spread lies and destabilize the community.

Many possible DDoT scenarios may evolve if the Cardano community is not proactively working to prevent them.

One invented - example DDoT scenario to illustrate how things can go wrong fast:

Example scenario involving bad faith: A former/current head or founder or leading researcher/manager of one of the three founding entities of Cardano issues an untrue statement questioning the legitimacy of efforts/intentions of another founding entity or possible financial shenanigans.

Several prominent community SPOs side with the accusing entity, as do several leading Youtube influencers and crypto media. Other side with the accused side. Some companies start distancing themselves.

Rumors circulate that one founding entity allegedly secretly siphoned funds and that has been done behind the scenes. Another rumor circulates that one of the Cardano entities has installed a backdoor and several SPOs announce they have reduced their pledges out of fear. Panic spreads. The allegations are amplified through social media.

Truth is hard to establish - references are made to talks and private discussions, public allegations are difficult to verify.

The general community has no way to verify the true merits of the claims - as they are undocumented. Two camps emerge. Cardano community splits along fault lines. This adds more fuel to the fire. ADA value plunges. The very sources of truth in the Cardano ecosystem come under question. The entire system teeters. A DDOT attack by a group of two dozen well organized distributed players is underway. Governance is rocked.

Why is it Important?

Legacy systems have been brought to the brink by the inability of stakeholders, participants and the public to agree on what is truth.

How does success look like?

Truth about Cardano and ongoing and past events is easy to establish even for newcomers. Trust not being eroded. Transparency is enhanced.

Key Metrics to measure

  • Easier access to information about the Cardano treasury and its funds, treasury disbursement, past, current and future monetary policy
  • Historical transactions from the treasury and founding entities can be easily identified by any non-power user of Cardano with a couple of clicks
  • Treasury 101 information sources are established explaining the basics of how the Treasury works and how all Treasury-related facts can be verified independently - with how-to-guides
  • Repository of old/new scams, scam attempts, fake debunked theories and falsehoods can be easily checked and accessed
  • Community-managed websites expand to include more beginner-friendly content about Cardano Treasury, ADA inflation rate, future monetary policy ADA calculators
  • Community-managed websites expand to include historical and current content about different types of Cardano scams, bad-faith players, untruths and FUD spreading.
  • New sources and repositories of information are developed containing timelines for Cardano project, FAQs and criticisms of Cardano as well as answers to criticisms.
  • Better tools for searching and transcribing information from IOG’s Cardano 360 shows, Charles Hoskinson’s AMAs and from other leading community members are developed.