Intel hit by elaborate news hoax

In a new twist to borrowing from current affairs with an intention to dupe, major news media in the US received a press release last week purporting to be from Intel that later turned out to be fake, showing how easy it is to spoof news announcements with a little knowledge of spokespeople for a particular company.

A statement on Intel’s website dated August 7 says: “An unknown individual has sent what purports to be a news release to some members of the media concerning Intel’s operations in Israel. This is a hoax.  The purported news release does not come from Intel and is false.”

According to reports from CNet, WSJ and PCWorld, also dated August 7, the release claimed that Intel would be pulling out of a US$6 billion investment in Israel due to Israel’s treatment of Gaza. The release included quotes from Intel executives including Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich and Mooly Eden, President of Intel Israel. A lookalike news site had also been created to showcase the release.

The media reports added that the contact person listed on the release, Nick Veritas (Veritas is the Roman goddess of truth, and ‘veritas’ is Latin for verity, or truth) later emailed them and said the hoax had been carried out to “show the disconnect between what companies say and do regarding corporate responsibility and human-rights”.

It is likely that the hoax was discovered after the targeted media contacted Intel representatives directly, and entirely possible that a similar hoax could have gone further if the targeted media did not have such connections with a company.

A May 2014  article from Reuters announced the US$5.8 billion investment would be to upgrade Intel’s existing Kiryat Gat plant in Southern Israel, and noted that 1,200 jobs would be created as a result. Intel’s Israel page states that the company has been in Israel since 1974, and that Israel remains a preferred manufacturing site.