Students Developing Cybersecurity System That Detects Online Rumors

Growing dependence on the Internet as a vital source of information and communication has become inevitable. However, the nature of online information and its many interconnected factors make it difficult to fully monitor the spread of misinformation, or to identify its origins.

A team of three computer science undergraduates, Israa’ Eleyan, Wafa’ Abu Makhou, Izdihar Shanineh, recognized the importance of looking beyond the medium and considering the setting in which misinformation is interpreted and spread. The three students are now working together to develop a false information detector, specialized in verifying Arabic language online data. The detector works across social media networks and other online information resources. It will automatically extract linguistic features and evaluate them for patterns of suspicious or inconsistent information.

Project supervisors, electrical and computer engineering professor Mohammed Hussein, and social media specialist Mahdi Washaha noted that the detector will allow individuals, companies, and other organizations to detect false information by retrieving data and filtering the date, content semantics, user, and content features. That, they said, will help users to figure out whether they are seeing only one side of a story—thus furthering both accuracy and reputation management, especially for organizations.

The students agreed that creating cyber security systems and virtual intelligence analysts is difficult. However, they expressed their enthusiasm and determination to add a remarkable accomplishment to those at Birzeit University and in the technology sector.