Facebook takes down inauthentic networks. CISA and FBI find no Russian hacking of US voter databases. Sepulcher malware returns. | #espionage | #surveillance | #ceo

During August Facebook took down three networks for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior (that is, organized disinformation). The activity broke down as follows.

  • Inauthentic Facebook and Instagram networks run from Pakistan were removed. The Stanford Internet Observatory characterizes these as aiming to counter criticism of either Islam or Pakistan’s government.
  • 13 accounts and 2 pages operated from Russia were taken down. Facebook said these were linked to “individuals associated with past activity in the Russian Internet Research Agency. This activity was directed mostly against the US, the UK, Algeria, and Egypt, with plenty of QAnon and COVID-19 chatter. Graphika says much of the network’s activity involved redirection to Peace Data, which represents itself as a progressive, independent news service.
  • 55 accounts, 42 pages, and 96 Instagram accounts linked to the Washington-based communications firm CLS Strategies were removed. This network directed itself to Venezuela, Bolivia, and Mexico. Buzzfeed reports that CLS Strategies didn’t respond directly to questions about coordinated inauthenticity. The networks were in Venezuela pro-opposition, in Bolivia pro-regime, and in Mexico anti-MORENA (a leftist political party). Facebook did note that CLS as a whole wasn’t banned, since much of the firm’s activity was legitimate.

Chatter about Russian compromise of US voter databases has come to nothing. CISA and the FBI haven’t seen anything of the kind during this election cycle.

Proofpoint reports that the Chinese government threat group TA413, which earlier deployed Sepulcher malware against European targets, is now using Sepulcher in a spearphishing campaign directed at the Tibetan diaspora.

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