Hackers can break in to systems and leak the documents they find. Hackers can also edit the documents they find, and present those files as authentic.
Maybe ten thousand of the documents are authentic, one is edited to add Joe Biden’s name to a list of attendees at a meeting, and one is a completely made-up document about Huma Abedin’s tax returns.
“Imagine trying to explain to the press, eager to publish the worst of the details in the documents, that everything is accurate except this particular email,” says Bruce Schneier.
Fortunately, he continues, “Major newspapers do their best to verify the authenticity of leaked documents they receive from sources. They only publish the ones they know are authentic. The newspapers consult experts, and pay attention to forensics.”
So at least there’s that.