May 19 2021, 13:12 pm

Suspected Russian Cyber Campaign Targets German Politician Who Criticized Russian Pipeline Project

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.


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