Facebook Intervenes After Ukraine Reportedly Targeted In Cyberattack

(FreedomBeacon.com)- The parent company of Facebook has announced that it has taken action against a hacking group linked to Belarus that was hacking into the accounts of prominent figures in Ukraine.

On Monday, company Meta also announced it would be taking additional steps to counter disinformation efforts being taken by groups linked to Russia and its ally, Belarus.

While this is a step in the right direction, it’s not likely to put a halt to disinformation being spread on Facebook, nor is it likely to stop all hacking efforts completely coming out of either Russia or Belarus.

Researchers for Meta recently discovered that a hacking group that is called Ghostwriter was able to gain access to the Instagram and Facebook accounts of various prominent people in Ukraine. The group, which also goes by UNC1151, gained access to the accounts of journalists, politicians and military leaders.

Once they gained that access, they posted disinformation that was designed to make the military of Ukraine appear to be weak. One such instance was a video hosted on YouTube that showed soldiers from Ukraine surrendering.

Meta blocked the phishing domains that were set up by the hacking group to hack the accounts. Then, the company also notified the people who were targeted by the attacks.

Last year, Mandiant — a cybersecurity group — linked Ghostwriter to the government in Belarus. And just last week, the cybersecurity agency of Ukraine accused that same group of sending phishing emails on a mass scale to the country’s military personnel as well as their families.

Meta’s director of threat disruption, David Agronovich, said on Sunday night that he believes the “targeting and potential compromise” that was being conducted by Ghostwriter goes beyond the platforms that Meta operates — namely Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

In addition to this attack, Meta also blocked and removed another network that was associated with inauthentic behavior. A collection of 48 accounts, groups and pages were posing as fake news editors from Kyiv, various independent news outlets and even experts in aviation.

That network was able to build a following of 4,000 people on Facebook and roughly 500 people on Instagram. Meta discovered that these accounts were based in both Ukraine and Russia, and were targeting people in Ukraine by spreading disinformation about the war.

Meta’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said recently that he was encouraged that Meta was able to discover and stop these accounts before they were able to build a huge following or reach a huge audience on their platforms. He said this was accomplished through Meta’s internal teams, with the help of the government and other companies.

Meta and other social media companies have been ramping up their efforts to stomp out fake accounts and disinformation campaigns ever since Russia invaded Ukraine last week. These companies knew that their platforms would become a big weapon that Russia and its allies would try to use to get people on their side.