October 3, 2022
Facebook-parent meta says Ukraine’s military, politicians targeted in hacking campaign

Amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country, a hacking group used Facebook to target a handful of public figures in Ukraine, including prominent military officials, politicians and a journalist, the meta platforms said.

Meta said that over the past 48 hours it has separately removed a network of about 40 fake accounts, groups and pages on Facebook and Instagram, which operate from Russia and Ukraine, for violating its rules against coordinated inhumane behavior. To target people in Ukraine.

A Twitter spokesperson said it had also suspended more than a dozen accounts and blocked multiple link sharing for violating its rules against platform manipulation and spam. It said its ongoing investigation indicated that the accounts originated in Russia and were attempting to disrupt public conversations surrounding the conflict in Ukraine.

one in blog post On Monday, Meta attributed the hacking attempts to a group called Ghostwriters, which it said had successfully gained access to the target’s social media accounts. Meta said the hackers attempted to post YouTube videos from accounts portraying Ukrainian soldiers as vulnerable, including a video showing Ukrainian soldiers walking out of the woods and waving a white flag of surrender. was claimed.

Ukraine’s cyber security officials said Friday that hackers in neighboring Belarus were targeting private email addresses of Ukrainian military personnel “and related individuals”, blaming a group code named “UNC1151”. US cyber security firm FireEye has previously linked the group to ghostwriter activities.

Meta’s security team said it has taken steps to secure targeted accounts and blocked phishing domains used by hackers. It declined to name any targets, but said it had alerted users where possible.

Meta stated that the Separate Influence campaign, which used several fictitious individuals, claimed to be based in Kyiv and run a small number of websites masquerading as independent news outlets. These outlets claimed that the West had deceived Ukraine and Ukraine into being a failed state.

The company said it had found links between this influence network and an operation it removed in April 2020, which it linked to individuals in Russia, the Donbass region in Ukraine and two media outlets based in Crimea – Newsfront and Southfront, which are now sanctioned. are by the US government. Neither Newsfront nor Southfront immediately responded to requests for comment.

Meta declined to provide multiple impressions or views for the content of the Influence campaign, but said it saw a “very low level” of shares, posts or reactions. It said it had less than 4,000 Facebook accounts followed by more than one page in the campaign and less than 500 accounts followed by one or more Instagram accounts. It did not say how long the campaigns were active on its platforms.

It said the campaign had also used Alphabet’s YouTube, Telegram and Russian social media sites Odnoklassniki and VK. YouTube, Telegram and VK, which also owns Odnoklassniki, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The crisis in Ukraine has seen escalating conflicts between Moscow and major tech companies. On Friday, Russia said it would partially restrict access to Facebook, a move Meta said came after it rejected a government request to halt independent fact-checking of several Russian state media outlets. On Saturday, Twitter also said that its service was being restricted to some Russian users.

Ukraine’s health ministry said on Sunday that more than 300 children had died since the start of the attack.

Russia called its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

Ukraine has been plagued by digital infiltration and denial-of-service actions during and during the Russian invasion. Several big tech companies have announced measures to strengthen the security and privacy of their users in the country.

Meta, which has made changes in Ukraine in recent days, such as removing the ability to view and search friend lists of Facebook accounts, said on Monday it was also responding to public reports of civil society and protesters in Russia being targeted. It was changing.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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