Global media is reporting that the UK’s Signal Intelligence Agency, otherwise known as GCHQ, is preparing to launch what is described as a “major offensive cyber operation against state-sponsored propaganda aimed at undermining research on the COVID-19 vaccine.”According to an IntelNews report:
November 9, 2020 Britain’s Signals Intelligence Agency is preparing to launch a major offensive cyber operation against state-sponsored propaganda aimed at undermining research on the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the London-based Times newspaper, which published the information about the purported cyber operation, it will be aimed mostly against disinformation campaigns coming out of Russia. The alleged disinformation campaigns appear to be targeting research taking place at Oxford University, which seeks to create an effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus. A main theme in these campaigns promotes the claim that the vaccine will turn those who take it in to chimpanzees. Dozens of memes around this theme are said to have flooded Russian social media websites, with English-language translations making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Times reports that the British government considers shutting down the alleged Russian disinformation campaign a strategic priority, which grows in significance the closer British scientists get to their goal of creating a successful vaccine against the pandemic. London has therefore ordered the British Army’s 77th Brigade, which specializes in information operations, to launch an online campaign that will counter deceptive narratives about a potential vaccine against the coronavirus.
Read there rest here.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported in October on a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) threat analysis that discussed Russian influence operations in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the DHS analysis:
Russian online influence actors are advancing misleading or (what they perceive as) inflammatory narratives about the COVID-19 pandemic probably to stoke fear, undermine the credibility of the U.S. government, and weaken global perceptions of America. Moscow probably will study the American public’s reaction to its COVID-19 disinformation to improve future influence campaigns aimed at shaking public confidence in Washington, which it can unleash opportunistically during a crisis, hostilities, or a period of degraded relations:
- Russian online influence actors have claimed that the U.S. President is incapable of managing the COVID-19 crisis and sought to exacerbate public concerns by amplifying content critical of the U.S. response to the public health crisis and the economic downturn. In contrast, the actors highlighted China’s and Russia’s alleged success against the COVID-19 outbreak and praised President Putin’s COVID-19 plan and Russia’s ample supply of tests.
- Russian online influence actors spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19, claiming it is a U.S.-engineered biological weapon that U.S. military officials spread in China.
We also reported earlier this month that White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas had apologized for appearing on RT (formerly Russia Today), a state-controlled international television network funded by the Russian taxes.