PSC professor to help spot online disinformation

Special to the News Tribune
Mary Beth Moore

KEYSER - Mary Moore, professor of computer information systems at West Virginia University Potomac State College, was recently selected to join the Atlantic Council Digital Forensics Research Lab 360/Digital Sherlocks program (DFRLab), whose mission is to counter online disinformation. 

“The valuable knowledge and skills that students gain from my selection into this program can often give them an advantage in their career and when applying for jobs,” Moore said.

Moore, along with other selected scholars, have access to a global network of experts ready to exchange ideas and collaborate, as well as to exclusive material and resources and other tailored opportunities.

“The main advantage of being selected for this type of training is that I receive industry insight which allows me to constantly improve my skills and knowledge in the ever-emerging realm of technology.  However, the benefits to my students are even more far-reaching, enabling them the opportunity to learn smarter, thus enriching their learning outcomes,” Moore said.

This summer, DFRLab experts will conduct trainings on social media analysis, advanced OSINT techniques, DeepFakes detection, data visualization, open source tools, and facilitated discussions on topics such as online extremism, digital regulation, state-sponsored information operations, and more.

The goal of the research conducted in the Digital Sherlocks program is to gather information for the purpose of exposing unethical behavior. These techniques include Geolocation (identifying locations of photos using Google maps and satellite imagery among other techniques), as well as Facebook and Twitter analysis to help identify accounts that are spreading disinformation.  

“I will share techniques I learn in various classes. Students in CIS 100, Intro to Computer Information Systems, will do a Geolocation exercise using more advanced techniques.  For example, using a photo I've taken, they’ll look for metadata then analyze the location using recognizable landmarks,” Moore said.

Students in CIS 440 Cyberethics will also benefit from Moore’s knowledge by examining the implications of the spread of online disinformation and what’s being done to counter the distribution of disinformation.

“Open Source Intelligence is considered a form of ethical hacking and is one of the subjects we study in the CIS program and will be offered in the Spring 2022 semester,” added Moore.  

The college’s Computer Information Systems program is included under the West Virginia Invests Grant in which state residents can earn an associate degree without paying tuition.

To learn more, visit potomacstatecollege.edu or contact Enrollment Services at 304-788-6820 or email go2psc@mail.wvu.edu.