US media is reporting that Belarus is allegedly behind a hacking and disinformation campaign targeting Eastern European NATO members since 2016. According to a Newsweek report:
November 16, 2021 Belarus is allegedly behind a hacking and disinformation campaign that has been targeting Eastern European NATO members since 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by U.S. cybersecurity firm Mandiant. The effort, known as Ghostwriter, includes attempts to instill conflict in the intergovernmental military group, obtain confidential information and spy on dissidents, the Associated Press reported. NATO members in Eastern Europe that all share borders with Belarus, including Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, as well as Ukraine, are among the main targets of Ghostwriter. While some members of the European Union have suggested that Russia is involved in the campaign, Mandiant’s report is the first time that Belarus has been accused. The firm cited compelling forensic evidence in its accusations that Belarus played a role in the hacking, but said that it hadn’t uncovered any firm proof that Russia was also involved. This doesn’t necessarily rule Russia out, but makes it harder to connect to the cyber campaign, the AP reported.
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The GIOR has extensively covered cyber-influence operation Ghostwriter, detailing how Ghostwriter activities targeted audiences in Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland with narratives critical of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe. Our reporting has highlighted Ghostwriter’s links to a Baltic disinformation outlet and reported that Germany accused Russia of trying to steal data from lawmakers through a hacking campaign it attributed to Ghostwriter.
The Newsweek report notes that the findings on Belarus’s disinformation and hacking campaign come as the European Union has slapped new sanctions on the country for creating a crisis on its border with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania by encouraging thousands of migrants from the Middle East to mass at the EU frontier.