Attacks/Breaches

1/17/2019
04:30 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
Quick Hits
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Facebook Shuts Hundreds of Russia-Linked Pages, Accounts for Disinformation

Facebook says the accounts and pages were part of two unrelated disinformation operations aimed at targets outside the US.

Facebook has closed hundreds of accounts and pages linked to Russia, due to "coordinated inauthentic behavior" or disinformation operations. 

Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in a blog today that the shuttered pages and accounts (on both Facebook and Instagram) represent two unrelated disinformation networks. One operation targeted Ukraine, and the other covered Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. 

US law enforcement tipped off Facebook to the network that focused on Ukraine, which spent $25,000 on Facebook ads last year. The network exhibited some "technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections," wrote Gleicher, and similar behavior to that of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm indicted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook shut 107 groups, pages, and accounts (with about 180,000 total followers) and 41 Instagram accounts (55,000 followers) associated with this operation. 

The other network was a content amplification program for a Russian state-sponsored media organization.

As described by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensics Research Lab (DFRLab) in an extensive report:

The pages masqueraded as groups with special interests — ranging from food to support for authoritarian presidents — and amplified content from the Kremlin’s media agency, Rossiya Segodnya, especially that of its subordinate online news outlet Sputnik.

The nature of the activity varied. The Sputnik editors acknowledged that Sputnik ran certain pages in Latvia, but at the other end, "a sub-group of nine pages in Georgia was run by an account that appeared to be actively fraudulent" and purchased ads specifically to promote Rossiya Segodnya content, DFRLab wrote. "Most of the pages in the network were covert, in that they did not mention a connection to Rossiya Segodnya and also did not claim any other specific identity."

According to Gleicher, Facebook has thus shut 75 accounts and closed 289 pages, representing 790,000 followers and $135,000 in advertising.

"The decision is clearly political. This is tantamount to censorship," said Sputnik in a statement to the Associated Press.  

In a statement to Dark Reading, a Facebook representative said, "As Nathaniel mentioned in his post today, we've taken down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action."

For more, read here at AP, here at DFRLab, and here at Facebook. 

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2019 | 8:20:20 AM
Re: On Putin
$135,000 in advertising.  Wow, that will impact the bottom line.............not
Dd321321
50%
50%
Dd321321,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2019 | 7:16:09 AM
Re: On Putin
According to Gleicher, Facebook has thus shut 75 accounts and closed 289 pages, representing 790,000 followers and $135,000 in advertising.
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/18/2019 | 8:21:20 AM
On Putin
He is a disrupter of the norm - anything he can do to gum up the works of nations around his is a task to be done.  He has no plan sometimes, just throw sand ino the machine and see what happens. 
Russia Hacked Clinton's Computers Five Hours After Trump's Call
Robert Lemos, Technology Journalist/Data Researcher,  4/19/2019
Tips for the Aftermath of a Cyberattack
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/17/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-11378
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-20
An issue was discovered in ProjectSend r1053. upload-process-form.php allows finished_files[]=../ directory traversal. It is possible for users to read arbitrary files and (potentially) access the supporting database, delete arbitrary files, access user passwords, or run arbitrary code.
CVE-2019-11372
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-20
An out-of-bounds read in MediaInfoLib::File__Tags_Helper::Synched_Test in Tag/File__Tags.cpp in MediaInfoLib in MediaArea MediaInfo 18.12 leads to a crash.
CVE-2019-11373
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-20
An out-of-bounds read in File__Analyze::Get_L8 in File__Analyze_Buffer.cpp in MediaInfoLib in MediaArea MediaInfo 18.12 leads to a crash.
CVE-2019-11374
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-20
74CMS v5.0.1 has a CSRF vulnerability to add a new admin user via the index.php?m=Admin&c=admin&a=add URI.
CVE-2019-11375
PUBLISHED: 2019-04-20
Msvod v10 has a CSRF vulnerability to change user information via the admin/member/edit.html URI.