Ukraine Knocks Out A Russian Bot Network

Russia has been trying to change perceptions of its invasion of Ukraine by aiming to influence public opinion and moving support in favour of Russia. Now, Ukraine's security services claim to have traced a Russian propaganda operation to a bot farm that was secretly operating under their noses in the country’s capital of Kyiv.

The source of disinformation was tracked down to a Russian citizen and self-proclaimed 'political expert'  based in Kyiv. The malicious network used thousands of SIM cards to register new accounts and 200 proxy servers to spoof IP addresses. 

Ukrainian law enforcement has now dismantled the bot network that was being used to spread disinformation across the country via social media platforms. The network is understood to have reached an audience of more than 400,000 users at the time of its shutdown.

Most of the content was about Ukraine's military and political leadership and included fake news regarding the situation at the border of Ukraine and Russia, as well as false information about an alleged conflict  between the President Zelensky's office and the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces. 

Ukraine claims to have “neutralised” 1200 cyber-incidents and cyber attacks on government and strategic critical infrastructure since the start of the war, including 500 YouTube channels that collectively had 15 million subscribers. However, Russian propaganda efforts continue, not just inside Ukraine but also in a bid to sway public opinion among its allies. Last month, researchers at Recorded Future reported that Russia is running multiple information campaigns designed to promote division between Ukraine and its allies.

In addition to those reported above, Ukraine security agencies claim to have detected 1,500 Telegram channels and bots and a further 1,500 Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok accounts spreading Russian propaganda.

PCMag:    Recorded Future:     Infosecurity Magazine:    Oodaloop:    CyberWire:    Bleeping Computer: 

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