Facebook Suspends Fake Russian Accounts, Warns of Threat of US Vote | United States


Facebook said it dismantled three networks of fake accounts that could be used by Russian intelligence services to disclose pirated documents as part of efforts to disrupt the upcoming U.S. election.The company said on Thursday that the accounts, which it had suspended for using false identities and other types of “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” were linked to Russian intelligence and people associated with an accused St. Petersburg-based organization. by U.S. officials to work to influence the 2016 Presidential Vote.

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of electoral interference and said it does not interfere in the domestic politics of other countries.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s cybersecurity policy manager, said there was no immediate evidence that pirated documents were about to be disclosed, but by suspending the accounts, Facebook hoped to prevent their use in any way. subsequent operation.

“Our team is monitoring threats and trends that we need to be prepared for and that we are very aware of… is a hack and leak operation, especially in the next 6-8 weeks,” he told the Reuters news agency.

“We want to make sure the accounts are down to prevent their ability to rotate them to facilitate hack and leak around the US election. ”

Facebook said the networks were small with only a handful of accounts on its website and Instagram photo-sharing service, and a combined total of around 97,000 followers.

Twitter said it worked with Facebook to identify and delete 350 accounts managed by state-linked organizations in Russia.

The two companies said one of the networks was identified following advice from the FBI, which warned on Tuesday that foreign actors and cybercriminals were likely to spread disinformation about the November election results.

The warnings follow an alert from Microsoft earlier this month that hackers with links to Russia, China and Iran are trying to spy on people linked to both US President Donald Trump and his challenger Democrat, Joe Biden.

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin stand together before their meeting begins at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland in 2018 [File: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo]

Graham Brookie, director of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council, worked with Facebook to analyze suspended accounts. He added that the activity showed that Russia was continuing its efforts to exacerbate political tensions in the United States and elsewhere.

“This does not rule out the fact that the scale and scope of national disinformation is far greater than any foreign adversary could do,” he said. “But Russia’s efforts remain an extremely serious national security vulnerability.”


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