The chameleon attack: manipulating content display in online social media

Aviad Elyashar, Sagi Uziel, Abigail Paradise, Rami Puzis

Proceedings of The Web Conference 2020, 848-859, 2020

Online social networks (OSNs) are ubiquitous attracting millions of users all over the world. Being a popular communication media OSNs are exploited in a variety of cyber-attacks. In this article, we discuss the chameleon attack technique, a new type of OSN-based trickery where malicious posts and profiles change the way they are displayed to OSN users to conceal themselves before the attack or avoid detection. Using this technique, adversaries can, for example, avoid censorship by concealing true content when it is about to be inspected; acquire social capital to promote new content while piggybacking a trending one; cause embarrassment and serious reputation damage by tricking a victim to like, retweet, or comment a message that he wouldn’t normally do without any indication for the trickery within the OSN. An experiment performed with closed Facebook groups of sports fans shows that (1) chameleon …