Facebook warns of major cyberattack campaigns linked to Russian hackers targetting Ukrainian military following the country’s invasion.
Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, announced that they’d observed a rise in hacks and attempted impersonations since the war in Ukraine began on February 24.
Early in the conflict, the Kremlin blocked access to Facebook and Instagram, impacting the Russian people’s ability to communicate globally.
A spike in cyberattacks aimed at Ukraine saw tactics including Russia using bogus accounts to spread false stories.
As the war continued, propaganda campaigns were launched on Facebook networks in nearby former-Soviet countries.
A cyber operation called Ghostwriter attempted to hack into Ukrainian military personnel through their Facebook accounts.
Ghostwriter’s typical tactic is to target victims with “phishing” emails that trick them into clicking on deceptive links to steal log-in credentials.
Meta said in the report: “Since our last public update, this group has attempted to hack into the Facebook accounts of dozens of Ukrainian military personnel.
“In a handful of cases, they posted videos calling on the Army to surrender as if these posts were coming from the legitimate account owners.”
The European Union and independent intelligence agencies speculate that Ghostwriter is connected to the Kremlin.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said: “We are actively now reviewing additional steps to address misinformation and hoaxes coming from Russian government pages.”
Meta said it disrupted a network of about 200 Facebook accounts in Russia, working together to falsely accuse people of violating the social network’s policies to get posts about Ukraine removed.
Such coordinated bullying campaigns are referred to as “mobbing.”
Facebook has restricted Russian state media’s ability to earn money on the social media platform and has refused to stop using fact-checkers and content warning labels on state media posts.
Meta, whose family of apps includes Instagram, has blocked the accounts of the Russian state-run media RT and Sputnik in the European Union.
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