Facebook parent company Meta has revealed that several Russian and Belarusian-linked hacker groups have managed to break into the Facebook accounts of Ukrainian military officials.
The report comes against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which allegedly involved cyberattacks.
According to Meta, the hackers impersonated journalists and independent online news outlets to smuggle Russian talking points on the platform. They have also led coordinated campaigns to remove social media posts that oppose the Russian government.
The company further revealed that the hackers released videos calling on the Ukrainian military to surrender to Russian forces in kyiv.
About 200 accounts operated from Russia that repeatedly filed false reports about people in Ukraine have been taken down.
“Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have seen attacks on internet freedom and access to information escalate dramatically,” said Meta’s president of global affairs. Nick Clegg mentionedQuoted by CBS News.
He added that cyberattacks have manifested themselves through Russian state propaganda, media influence operations and espionage campaigns aimed at disrupting the flow of credible information.
Increase in cyberattacks
In addition to Ukrainian military officials, the hackers reportedly targeted government agencies, media groups and telecommunications in Ukraine.
Last month, hackers launched a “sophisticated and massive” attack on Ukraine’s largest fixed-line telecommunications company, Ukrtelecom.
Launched from inside Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory, the attack attempted to disable company servers and change passwords to employee accounts.
On Thursday, Ukraine’s Security Service said it uncovered an SMS campaign directed at the Ukrainian military demanding that it defect and surrender to Russian forces.
“The outcome of events is predetermined! the messages said. “Be careful and refuse to support nationalism and the leaders of the country who have discredited themselves and already fled the capital!!!”
Ukrainian #CyberDigest: Between March 23 and March 29, #CERTUA recorded 65 #cyber-attacks in total, five more attacks than the previous week. Focus and popular attack methods remain unchanged.#UkraineRussianWar#Ukraine️#UkraineUnderAttack#russianhackers pic.twitter.com/RASNROLh5f
— SSSCIP Ukraine (@dsszzi) April 7, 2022
USA to the rescue
Several US officials said last week that the FBI disrupted Russian military hackers by hijacking the same infrastructure Moscow spies were using.
An affidavit described the operation as a “preemptive move” to prevent Russian hackers from mobilizing a network of hacked computers that could bombard other servers with malicious traffic.
“Fortunately, we were able to disrupt this botnet before it could be used,” the US Attorney General said. Merrick Garland Told Reuters.