Social Media trends are a powerful tool that can be used to sway the views and opinions of millions of users, which is why a report claiming that a subcontractor working for Russia’s intelligence service has a botnet capable of altering trends on social media platforms has raised eyebrows.
A cybersecurity firm Nisos has alleged that the Russian firm oDay Technologies can spread misinformation at a hefty rate through a customizable suite linked to a malicious network.
The company has also previously worked with one of Russia’s fundamental primary intelligence agencies named Federal Security Services.
Nisos’ report has solid backing and is based on documents and other material that the hacktivist group “Digital Revolution” stole and leaked in 2020. For those unaware, Botnets are networks of malware-infected devices through which cyber criminals engage in malevolent behavior.
Through these networks, hackers can indulge in all kinds of vindictive behavior, like launching cyberattacks, spreading spam emails, and engaging in crypto-mining, to name a few.
In this case, Nisos has accused 0Day Technologies of having created and used a botnet “Fronton,” which contains a dashboard suite that can generate fake social media profiles and distribute fake content at a massive scale. Dubbed ‘SANA,’ the suite allows users to deploy social media trends to the masses.
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This means that it could create ‘newsbreaks’ or coordinate a massive posting effort that leads to information ‘noise’ about a company or brand and, at the same time, attract attention from users.
The report stated that SANA indulges in creating social media persona accounts and can even provide mobile phone numbers and emails while doing so!
“The system provides facilities for creating these newsbreaks on a schedule or reactive basis,” the report read.
SANA was also used previously, which shows the power and influence this technology could have. Nisos states that the company used the suite to aim ridicule at a big wooden squirrel sculpture erected in Kazakhstan in 2018. A report revealed that some of the ridicule aimed at the wooden sculpture was inauthentic, while others were authentic.
Social Media websites’ vulnerability:
While social media platforms are regulated closely and are a great way to get information, it is also no hidden fact that Twitter, Facebook, and other sites are highly vulnerable to misinformation and fake news.
This is exactly what makes the Russian botnet so scary. It could have an adverse impact on social media users. And as ever, you need to be careful with what you read and believe on the internet.