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Belarusian Disinformation Campaign Targets Eastern European NATO Members

November 23rd, 2021 15:55

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.

Read the rest here.

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.