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CNN Security Analyst Says Russia Targets US With COVID Pandemic Disinformation

January 15th, 2021 17:11

A CNN nation­al secu­ri­ty ana­lyst wrote a sum­ma­ry last month of what she says are Russ­ian efforts to spread COVID-relat­ed dis­in­for­ma­tion. Accord­ing to a report by Saman­tha Vino­grad, the Russ­ian effort is aimed at under­min­ing US institutions:

Decem­ber 14, 2020 Accord­ing to US offi­cials, Rus­sia has been hard at work spread­ing Covid-19 relat­ed dis­in­for­ma­tion — while also hack­ing into var­i­ous pieces of the Covid-19 ecosys­tem and, based on new report­ing, into US gov­ern­ment sys­tems — it’s quite clear that the Krem­lin is good at mul­ti­task­ing in cyber­space. Using fake web­sites, social media accounts and state con­trolled media, the Krem­lin’s infor­ma­tion war­riors have used this chaot­ic peri­od to advance their ongo­ing mis­sion to under­mine the cred­i­bil­i­ty of US insti­tu­tions (a job made a lot eas­i­er in light of the chaot­ic US pan­dem­ic response effort and the Pres­i­den­t’s ongo­ing lies) and divide us. Chief ‘Warp Speed’ oper­at­ing offi­cer: We are ready to dis­trib­ute vac­cines all across Amer­i­ca. Ever since Rus­sia unveiled its Covid-19 “Sput­nik” vac­cine, its dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tions have includ­ed efforts to under­mine con­fi­dence in west­ern vac­cines and to bol­ster its own. A Sun­day Times inves­ti­ga­tion revealed a dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ing the Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty vac­cine, a move that British For­eign Sec­re­tary Dominic Raab called “rep­re­hen­si­ble.” The Krem­lin has denied the accu­sa­tions, which the Krem­lin’s spokesper­son referred to as “cir­cus-like.” If we’re going to have an hon­est con­ver­sa­tion about Covid-19 dis­in­for­ma­tion, includ­ing treat­ments and vac­cines, we can­not ignore the ele­phant in the room: Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Read the entire arti­cle here.

Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ing on dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns regard­ing the COVID pan­dem­ic has included:

  • An Octo­ber 2020 report on a US Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty Analy­sis that said Iran­ian online influ­ence actors were try­ing to “shift respon­si­bil­i­ty for the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic to the Unit­ed States and oth­er West­ern nations.”
  • An Octo­ber 2020 report on the same DHS analy­sis which also said Chi­na was using using dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns to shift respon­si­bil­i­ty for the pan­dem­ic to oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing the Unit­ed States.
  • A Novem­ber 2020 report that the UK’s Sig­nal Intel­li­gence Agency was prepar­ing to launch what was described as a “major offen­sive cyber oper­a­tion against state-spon­sored pro­pa­gan­da aimed at under­min­ing research on the COVID-19 vaccine.”
  • A Novem­ber 2020 report that accord­ing to the Cana­di­an Cen­tre for Cyber Secu­ri­ty, Cana­di­ans were the tar­get of for­eign COVID dis­in­for­ma­tion operations.
  • A Jan­u­ary report on an exten­sive inves­ti­ga­tion into state-spon­sored Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts cen­tered on the Covid pandemic.