Russian trolls to disrupt U.S. election in 2020

Source : 112 Ukraine

The hackers create many legitimate-looking users as well as believable followers and likes for those fake users
15:39, 10 March 2019

cyber security
Open source

Russian internet trolls seem to be shifting strategy to disrupt the 2020 U.S. elections, promoting politically divisive messages through phony social media accounts instead of creating propaganda themselves, cybersecurity experts say, as Bloomberg agency reports.

“Instead of creating content themselves, we see them amplifying content,” said John Hultquist, the director of intelligence analysis at FireEye Inc. “Then it’s not necessarily inauthentic, and that creates an opportunity for them to hide behind somebody else.”

Some hackers are breaking into computing devices and using them to open large numbers of social media accounts, according to Candid Wueest, a senior threat researcher at Symantec Corp. The hacked devices are used to create many legitimate-looking users as well as believable followers and likes for those fake users.

Wueest said he observed a decrease in the creation of new content by fake accounts from 2017 to 2018 and a shift toward building massive followings that could be used as platforms for divisive messages in 2020.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, said social media remains a primary avenue for foreign actors to influence U.S. elections, and the bureau is working with companies on the problem.

“What has continued virtually unabated and just intensifies during the election cycles is this malign foreign influence campaign, especially using social media,” Wray said. “That continues, and we’re gearing up for it to continue and grow again for 2020.”

Yet removing foreign influence campaigns remains a slippery task for social media companies.

As it was reported earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that the Central Election Commission of Ukraine had suffered the cyber attack from Russia on February 24,25.

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Russia intends to involve all present arsenal, including the cyber means, to influence the upcoming elections in Ukraine.

Besides, it was reported that the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Ukraine summarized the events from the beginning of the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine to the fifth anniversary of the aggression. The Ministry outlined that the consequences of the criminal deeds by the Kremlin authorities are unprecedented for post-war Europe.

Related: March 15 declared day off in Zakarpattia to mark 80th anniversary of Carpatho-Ukraine

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