The Russian IoT botnet, known as Fronton, can use inauthentic coordinated behavior to launch disinformation trends on social media.
“Trends” on social media platforms are how many people are aware of what is happening in the world. There is a growing awareness that not everything published under a trend is believed – especially around evolving events such as terrorist attacks – but there is often a perception that it is a trend because enough real people write about it.
IoT devices have become the perfect targets for botnets due to their rapid spread, often poor security, global distribution and constant inclusion. Such IoT botnets have launched record-breaking DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.
The group of hackers Digital Revolution unveiled the botnet Fronton in March 2020. The group released documents for the botnet after claiming to have hacked a subcontractor of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.
The initial details of the botnet focused on its serious DDoS capabilities and led to titles saying it could “disconnect from the internet in a small country”. However, many missed the release of additional documents, images and videos, which revealed his other great potential.
Virginia-based computer security firm Nisos delved into this additional information and found that Fronton includes a web-based dashboard called SANA.
IN blog postNisos explained:
“SANA creates personal social media accounts, including email and phone numbers. In addition, the system provides the means to produce this news on a schedule or on a reactive basis. “
Creating fake social accounts from around the world and using them in a coordinated way to launch trends would be difficult to find a social media platform. However, the consequences are huge.
We have seen disinformation campaigns launched to incite divisions on topics such as COVID-19 and immigration. There are also credible reports that they have been used to influence democratic processes such as elections.
Russia’s unjustified, barbaric and illegal invasion of Ukraine has forced Sweden and Finland to abandon their historic position of military neutrality and apply to join NATO– fearing that otherwise they could remain unprotected if Russia decides to invade other neighboring countries.
“Russia has said it will take countermeasures if we join NATO,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson told reporters on May 16th. “We cannot rule out that Sweden will be exposed, for example, to misinformation and attempts to intimidate and divide us. ”
Everyone should be vigilant that botnets like Fronton can be used to launch up-to-date disinformation campaigns and that it is more vital than ever to ensure that all information is verified by a trusted source before sharing or using it for opinion formation.
(Picture from Victor Talashuk On Unsplash)
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