UK media is reporting on a suspected Russia-led cyber campaign targeting Germany’s Green party leader Annalena Baerbock after she voiced opposition to a gas pipeline project between Russia and Europe. According to a Guardian article:
May 13, 2021 Fears are growing in Berlin of a Russian-led cyber campaign against the leader of Germany’s Green party after she pledged to block a gas pipeline project between Russia and Europe. Annalena Baerbock, who is running to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in September’s election, has been targeted in recent days by an increasingly vicious campaign across social media. The onslaught has included fake images purporting to show her naked, in which the body depicted is that of a Russian model, and a photograph of her standing next to the billionaire financier George Soros that has been used to claim she is part of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy of which the far right believe he is the mastermind. Cem Özdemir, a former Green party leader and now its foreign policy expert, said he was not surprised at the campaign, which he and others, including German security experts, see as Kremlin-backed.
Read the rest here.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported this month that politicians from the Netherlands, Latvia, Estonia, and Britain were tricked into holding video calls with someone using deepfake technology to impersonate the chief of staff of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. We also reported this month on a suspected state-sponsored cyberespionage actor that targeted audiences in Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland with narratives critical of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe.
Russia is a prolific actor in the influence operations space. While it is particularly well known for its attempts to interfere in the elections of democratic countries, most of its influence operations appear to be conducted via cyber activities, including through state-backed cyber espionage, the use of deepfake technology, and social media disinformation.
For more GIOR coverage of Russia’s influence operations, go here.