how this russian botnet can manipulate world opinion

how this russian botnet can manipulate world opinion

In Russia, a company works with the secret services to spread disinformation on a global scale.

According to a disturbing report shared by the cybersecurity firm Nisos, Russia would have at its disposal a substantial arsenal to spread false information internationally. A company working for the Moscow intelligence services called 0day Technologies would notably have a botnet capable of spreading fake news to very “large scale“.

Based on a series of documents stolen from the company and leaked by the Digital Revolution group in March 2020, the case alleges botnets, networks of devices infected with malware to coordinate massive attacks. The operation can take several forms, such as launching cyberattacks, mining cryptocurrencies or spreading spam and phishing campaigns.

In the case of 0Day Technologies, the botnet in question is called Fronton (or Фронтон in Russian). According to the report, it would Generate fake social media profiles, in order to disseminate disinformation on a very large scale. All with a view to “Formulate and mass-deploy trending events on social media“, indicates Nisos.

Concretely, Fronton would theoretically be able to influence world opinion by massively spreading false information on social networks. This would notably involve coordinated smear campaigns, as in 2018 when 0Day Technologies had – still according to information from Nisos – participated in criticizing an art installation installed in Kazakhstan. Already at the time, the BBC had noted that many of the comments and reviews on social media were fakefavoring the idea of ​​a coordinated attack.

In the midst of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and while the Kremlin maintains an ambivalent relationship with fake news, this revelation once again raises the question of the role – even passive – of social networks in global information. As usual, it is therefore necessary to remain vigilant and critical in all circumstances in the face of certain platforms that are not very inclined to fact-checking.

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