Meta acts on hacking attacks on Ukraine | Camden-Narellan Advertiser

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According to Meta Platforms, a hacking group has used Facebook to attack public figures in Ukraine, including prominent military officials, politicians and a journalist, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of the country.

Meta said it had taken down a network of about 40 fake accounts, groups and pages on Facebook and Instagram operating out of Russia and Ukraine in the past 48 hours for violating its rules against coordinated inauthentic behavior.

A Twitter spokesman said it had also suspended more than a dozen accounts and blocked multiple link sharing for violating its rules against platform manipulation and spam. The ongoing investigations indicated that the accounts originated in Russia and attempted to disrupt public discussion of the conflict in Ukraine.

In a blog post Monday, Meta credited the hacking efforts to a group called Ghostwriters, which it said had successfully gained access to victims’ social media accounts. Meta said the hackers tried to post YouTube videos from the accounts depicting Ukrainian troops as weakened, including a video allegedly showing Ukrainian soldiers coming out of a forest and raising a white flag of surrender.

Ukrainian cybersecurity officials said Friday that hackers from neighboring Belarus are targeting the private email addresses of Ukrainian military personnel “and related persons,” blaming a group codenamed “UNC1151.” US cybersecurity firm FireEye has previously linked the group to ghostwriting activities.

Meta’s security team said it took steps to secure targeted accounts and blocked the phishing domains used by the hackers. It declined to provide the names of the targets but said it warned users where possible.

Meta said the separate influencer campaign, which used a number of fictional characters, claimed to be based in Kyiv and to run a small number of websites masquerading as independent news outlets. These media published claims that the West had betrayed Ukraine and that Ukraine was a failed state.

The company said it found links between this influence network and an operation it removed in April 2020, linking it to people in Russia, Ukraine’s Donbass region and two Crimea-based media outlets – NewsFront and SouthFront. which are now sanctioned by the US government. Neither NewsFront nor SouthFront immediately responded to requests for comment.

The crisis in Ukraine has led to escalating clashes between Moscow and big 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 by several Russian state media outlets. On Saturday, Twitter also said its service was limited to some Russian users.

Digital intruders and denial-of-service attacks plagued Ukraine both before 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 over the past few days such as removing the ability to view and search the friends lists of Facebook accounts in Ukraine, said Monday it is making the same change in Russia, in response to public reports about civil society and targeted protesters.

Australian Associated Press

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