Two Ukrainians accused of spreading Russian propaganda and hack soldiers’ phones

Pierluigi Paganini June 14, 2024

Ukraine’s security service (SBU) detained two individuals accused of supporting Russian intelligence in spreading propaganda and hacking soldiers’ phones.

Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, detained two individuals who are accused of supporting Russian intelligence in spreading pro-Russia propaganda. They are also accused of hacking the phones of Ukrainian soldiers.

The arrests result from an investigation conducted by SBU officers in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense’s Intelligence Directorate and the National Police.

The SBU uncovered two bot farms in Zhytomyr and Dnipro that were spreading Russian propaganda and hacking soldiers’ phones. The bot farms spread Russian propaganda posing as Ukrainian citizens.

The SBU discovered that a Zhytomyr resident registered over 600 virtual mobile numbers and anonymous Telegram accounts that were used by Russian operatives. Then the accounts were sold or rented through Russian online platforms, the suspect received payments in cryptocurrency. According to the Ukrainian security service, Russian agents employed the numbers in phishing campaigns targeting Ukrainian military personnel to deliver spyware on their phones.

The second man (30), a Dnipro resident, registered nearly 15,000 fake social media and messenger accounts using Ukrainian SIM cards.

Then he sold the fake accounts on dark web forums to Russian intelligence. The Ukrainian authorities charged the man with violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In July 2023, the Cyber ​​Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine dismantled a massive bot farm and seized 150,000 SIM cards.

A gang of more than 100 individuals used fake social network accounts to conduct disinformation and psychological operations in support of the Russian government and its narrative on the invasion of Ukraine.

The gang used a massive bot farm to distribute illegal content, personal data of Ukrainian citizens and commit frauds. 

The cyber police discovered that the group used special equipment and software to register thousands of bot accounts in multiple social networks. 

In August 2022, the Ukrainian cyber police (SSU) dismantled a massive bot farm composed of 1,000,000 bots that was spreading disinformation and Russian propaganda through social networks.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Russian propaganda, bot farm)

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