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.