Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH Fake Russian accounts target Ukraine on social media, Meta says

Fake Russian accounts target Ukraine on social media, Meta says


The tech giant’s cybersecurity team shut down several fake accounts linked to Russia and blocked the sharing of internet addresses linking to sites spreading false information, according to David Agranovichdirector of the threat management team within Facebook.

In a blog post, Meta clarifies that the latter operated websites posing as independent news entities and created fake profiles on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and also the Russian social networks Odnoklassniki and VK.

In some cases, these accounts used profile pictures that we believe were generated using artificial intelligence techniquesadds the company.

The small network of fake accounts Facebook and instagram targeted Internet users in Ukraine and its posts sought to lure people to websites that spread false information about that country’s efforts to defend itself against the Russian invasion.

A man from behind with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder.

Ukraine opposes fierce resistance to the Russian invasion of its territory.

Photo: Reuters/Mikhail Palinchak

Disinformation sites under surveillance

Meta says it linked the network to people in Russia and Ukraine, as well as organizations like NewsFront and SouthFront in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.

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According to the United States, NewsFront and SouthFront are disinformation organizations that respond to instructions from Russian intelligence. These organizations are among more than a dozen entities sanctioned by Washington for attempting to influence the 2020 United States presidential election, under the direction of those responsible of Russia.

Among the false claims published by the sites are those that the West has betrayed Ukraine or that Ukraine is bankrupt, according to Mr. Agranovich.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine launched last Thursday has led to an outbreak of false information on the Internet, in particular on social networks, a phenomenon that has become recurrent with each outbreak of war or conflict.

A hacker at work

According to Meta, groups of Russian hackers seem to have stepped up their activities since the start of the invasion in Ukraine.

Photo: iStock/scyther5

Hackers are stepping up their efforts

For the past few days, a group of hackers named Ghostwriterwhich appears to be operating from Russia, has stepped up its actions against military figures and journalists in Ukraine, according to Meta’s security team.

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Ghostwriter uses the technique of phishing in particular to encourage its victims to click on links leading to malicious sites hosting harmful software to steal their passwords.

The goal appears to be to take over Facebook accounts to disseminate disinformation links, such as a fake video Youtube purporting to show Ukrainian soldiers surrendering to Russian soldiers, according to Meta.

We have taken steps to secure the accounts that we believe are targeted by the threat from this actorassured Nathaniel Gleicherhead of Facebook’s security policy.

We also blocked phishing domains that these hackers were using to try to trick people in Ukraine.

Friday, Facebook announced that it has banned Russian state media from making money on its platform by running ads or monetizing content.

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