Online influence campaigns have remained active since the Wagner Group leader’s death in a plane crash, Google says. Russian trolls farms linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin remain active months after the mercenary chief died in a plane crash and are likely to continue peddling disinformation aimed at influencing opinions on the war in Ukraine and the 2024 U.S. elections, according to new cybersecurity research. Several distinct online influence campaigns with covert or financial links to the former paramilitary chief were active throughout 2023 and underwent subtle shifts in their targeting, Google’s Mandiant Intelligence unit said. The activity continued even as propaganda outfits more overtly connected to Prigozhin appeared to be dismantled by the Russian government in the wake of his August death. The findings come as senior U.S. intelligence officials have warned that Russia and other U.S. adversaries, including China and Iran, are likely to deploy new technologies including artificial intelligence to target the 2024 presidential election with disinformation, aiming to seed doubts in the legitimacy of the results—and potentially try to affect the outcome. Senior intelligence officials have said they haven’t spotted major foreign interference attempts targeting the 2024 election yet but anticipate that several countries could seek to do so. None of the campaigns appeared to have gained significant traction online, said John Hultquist, chief analyst at Mandiant, reflecting the difficulty Russia and others have had in matching the scale of the Kremlin’s disinformation operations seen in 2016. But the continued activity of these groups points to Russia maintaining a capability it could increase as American elections draw closer, he said.

via wsj: Prigozhin Is Dead, but His Troll Farms Are Alive and Peddling Disinformation

Categories: GewaltInternet