Russian hackers have set up a huge network on the Internet to spread war propaganda – hidden behind perfectly replicated news sites of large German media houses such as “Bild” and “Spiegel”. They also created more than 1630 accounts and over 700 pages on Facebook, as well as several accounts on Instagram and Telegram for propaganda purposes. The head of global threat analysis at Meta, Ben Nimmo, and his team have now uncovered the cyber attacks.

“We dismantled a large network that originated in Russia and targeted primarily Germany, but also France, Italy, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, with the war in Ukraine taking center stage,” Nimmo writes .

The Russian cybercriminals are said to have copied the websites of large media houses in order to appear more credible. The content could hardly be differentiated from the original. The fake articles justified the Ukraine war and presented the sanctions against Russia as harm to Europe. “The operation began in May this year and focused on a widespread network of over 60 websites meticulously posing as legitimate news organization websites in Europe, including Spiegel, The Guardian and Bild,” said Nimmo. Hidden in the cloak of legitimacy, they spread stories about “the war and its aftermath.”

Also: Russian hackers spread misinformation in the name of individual journalists. “What we also see are attacks on the social profiles of journalists. Apparently, an attempt was made here to post messages on behalf of these people that justify the war.” Russia apparently invested over 105,000 US dollars in advertising, they say.