Ukraine shuts down Russian bot farm operating one million fake accounts that spread disinformation

midian182

Posts: 8,339   +103
Staff member
What just happened? Ukrainian police have shut down another massive Russian-operated bot farm in the country that was being used to spread propaganda and fake news about the war across social networks. This isn't the first such farm shuttered by Ukrainian cyber police (SSU), though it's thought to be one of the biggest.

The SSU writes that the farm's goal was to discredit Ukraine's leadership and destabilize the country's social and political situation. The group that created it, which the SSU has now dismantled, spread disinformation on the internet, some of which related to the activities of the country's top military and political leadership.

The farm, operating secretly in the capital of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Vinnytsia, ran over one million bot accounts and several groups on social media networks with an audience of almost 400,000 people.

The SSU also found at least 5,000 SIM cards used to create and maintain fake social media accounts and 200 proxy servers to spoof IP addresses and avoid being blocked by websites. Special custom software was developed so the farm operators could automatically manage the accounts across the most popular social networks.

The agency says Russian special services also used the farm to spread misinformation about what was happening at the front and carry out "information subversive operations," including claims of conflicts between President Volodymyr Zelensky and his top generals and a campaign to discredit the first lady.

The leader of the group behind the farm is a Russian citizen who has lived in Kyiv and positioned himself as a "political expert," writes the SSU.

"The adversary tries to use any opportunity to fuel internal strife or manipulate public opinion. Unfortunately, consciously or unconsciously, some Ukrainian political forces play along with the enemy and put their own ambitions above state interests," acting SSU Head Vasyl Malyuk said, adding that the people of Ukraine should not be influenced by pro-Russian manipulators.

Back in Mach, the SSU announced that since Russia invaded the country, it had identified and shut down five bot farms operating 100,000 social media accounts spreading fake news about the invasion. It has also neutralized over 1,200 cyber incidents and cyberattacks on government and strategic critical infrastructure.

The cyber police added that more than 500 pro-Russian YouTube channels with an audience of over 15 million subscribers have been blocked at the SSU's request, and over 1,500 Telegram channels and bots, along with 1,500+ Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok accounts, have been submitted for blocking.

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Thatsdisgusting

Posts: 86   +126
The majority of press around here also mentioned that this stuff is related to Poroshenko and his far-right-leaning party. LOL, dunno if that's true or just another political row. Though I could truly believe in that.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 1,026   +1,890
And here's Twitter fighting Musk and saying that he's wrong about the amount of bot accounts on Twitter....if something like this can be setup multiple times over (I think this is the second story I've read about bot farm from Russia being taken off line) it would be easy to draw a conclusion that bot accounts are running rampant and not just across Twitter, but all other social media platforms.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,465   +6,661
And here's Twitter fighting Musk and saying that he's wrong about the amount of bot accounts on Twitter....if something like this can be setup multiple times over (I think this is the second story I've read about bot farm from Russia being taken off line) it would be easy to draw a conclusion that bot accounts are running rampant and not just across Twitter, but all other social media platforms.

Yep, this just destroyed their case. Not that they had one to start with.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,573
Tactically speaking they might have been better off to seize the farm, changes the messaging to their favor, and continue to operate it. That is assuming they could maintain control since certainly the operators would have built in quite a few back doors so they could get in again .... so perhaps taking it out in the street and running over it with one of those captured Russian tanks would be a better display of "freedom in action" ..... To The Glory of Ukraine!
 

Hodor

Posts: 270   +191
Similar to when the police find heroin in someone's apartment.
"It's not mine, I was saving it for a friend".
 

axiomatic13

Posts: 422   +489
And here's Twitter fighting Musk and saying that he's wrong about the amount of bot accounts on Twitter....if something like this can be setup multiple times over (I think this is the second story I've read about bot farm from Russia being taken off line) it would be easy to draw a conclusion that bot accounts are running rampant and not just across Twitter, but all other social media platforms.
No, Botometer lists my account as a bot. It's a crap tool.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,838   +1,909
Tactically speaking they might have been better off to seize the farm, changes the messaging to their favor, and continue to operate it.
They did that months ago. Where else do you think headlines like "Ukraine kills 400 assassins sent after Zelensky", "Brave defenders of Snake Island die to the last man", "Russia's about to blow up a nuclear reactor and irradiate all Europe", or "Putin poisoned our delegates to the peace talks" come from?
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,969   +4,564
-Our country is being reduced to ashes, how do we respond?
-We must shut down those goddamn Russian bot farms!
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,317   +966
Politics aside .
Spam farms
Bulk dialer's etc
all need to be curtailed
I see very little unless I deliberately visit a "news" outlets comment section
You will still have paid 3rd world people being paid to comment ad nauseum

The reality a lot of this could be made redundant if people wised up that they were wasting their time down rabbit holes - or stop being suckers for obvious scams .
yes then they will have to use more targeted attack's - people will still be scammed - but that needs better intel and more resources

As for the current situation - how much is really effective ?- what does it matter where Jim is pro Ukraine or Putin
Ruzzia is going to Ruzzia
Ukraine is going to fight
Nato and other countries are still going to back Ukraine
The USA is slowly and assuredly destroying Ruzzia's war machine as a proxy war - Long range HIMARS will most likely be soon on the way - USA fighter Jets are in the pipeline.
The USA/NATO needs to send a strong message to China - look what happens to those with imperialist tendencies. China can scream all it wants - it's the country that's vulnerable - they need an economic/consumer machine to calm the masses - imagine a 100 million young people with no work or no prospects
These bot farms change none of that .
Senate just passed a resolution 95-1 for Finland/Sweden to join NATO.

Countries have put their Egos on the line - so what's going to change . Putin will only be beaten by defeat or coup - he will sacrifice the blood of all if he could .
West has to defend democracy as Ruzzia has stated it wants more than Ukraine .
 

TheRealSCDC

Posts: 462   +804
And my wife wonders why I have no social media accounts. Sometimes she asks me to "check this out" from facebook. I tell her "pass". Almost every time she asks me about something she sees or reads, it's spam crap.
 

Angga B

Posts: 171   +138
Russia operating bot farm inside ukraine
Russia bomb the nuclear power plant under its control

Who's bot here, really? I have become so stupid because all of these news I might be a bot now.