Cyber ​​detectives blame China-based digital propaganda for fueling Asia



Cybersecurity researchers are a large-scale pro-Chinese influence campaign the anger of Asian Americans against allegations of racial injustice in the US and blaming the US for the origin of COVID-19.

security firm Fire Eye‘NS mandiant division uncovered the operation, which uses at least 30 social media platforms and dozens of websites in many different languages, including Chinese, English, Russian, German, Spanish, Korean and Japanese.

Researchers have found that the use of different languages ​​and platforms is pro-Chinese the attack accelerated to reach a wider audience around the world.

“This shows that the actors behind the campaign have significantly expanded their online footprints and are trying to have a presence on as many platforms as possible to reach a diverse global audience.” Fire Eye mandiant threat analysts Ryan Serabian and Lee Foster wrote while explaining the plan. “Secondly, the attempt to physically mobilize protesters in the US provides early warning that responsible actors may begin to explore more direct avenues of influence, and may otherwise be indicative of an emerging intent to motivate real-world activities. Chineselands.”

The researchers did not identify the Chinese Communist Party as the culprit, but attributed the digital campaign to China-based accounts that Twitter shut down in 2019.

Fire Eye In April, she observed thousands of posts calling on Asian Americans to protest perceived racial injustices. Some posts urged Asian Americans to join the April 24 protest in New York to repulse former Trump White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, and Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist. It was made in a Chinese government laboratory.

Ms. Yan attracted attention last year, telling Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the virus was created by a person. Chinese and deliberately spread to cause harm.

Professional-Chinese The influence campaign also sought to shift for the origin of COVID-19 from others. Chinese To the USA, specifically the national biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The disinformation campaign used Russian-language publications to claim Fort Detrick was the source of the virus. Other posts in Spanish also described Fort Detrick and linked to articles claiming the virus had previously originated in the US and Europe. Chinese, according to this Fire Eye.

Fort Detrick has long been the target of foreign enemies’ propaganda. According to the Wilson Center, in the 1980s, the Soviet Union spread rumors that HIV/AIDS was genetically modified or created during alleged biological weapons research at the US Army’s Institute for Medical Research for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick.

According to the Journal of Cold War Studies, the Soviet Fort Detrick-HIV/AIDS propaganda campaign ran from 1983 to 1989. According to the magazine, the Soviet Union saw its initial efforts to blame America, thanks to “numerous bourgeois newspapers”, as a success, primarily among people in African countries who viewed other theories linking the HIV/AIDS epidemic to African apes as racist.

ChineseEfforts to deflect blame for the coronavirus pandemic were also initially successful.

In 2020, discussions of COVID-19 as origin Chinese It was met with disapproval by validators working for news publishers and social media companies. For example, Facebook removed content claiming to be man-made or produced by COVID-19 until May 2021, when it reversed its decision.

PolitiFact, a confirmation site, similarly shelved a September 2020 article about Ms. Yan voicing a “disproved” theory that COVID-19 was allegedly created in a lab. PolitiFact removed verification in May 2021.

While the impact of digital disinformation targeting Asian Americans is limited, Fire Eye mandiant researchers saw new tactics and real-world calls to action as an escalation of digital impact warfare.

Shane Huntley of the Google Threat Analysis Group said on Twitter that Google had previously detected and removed content from the same network. Fire Eye mandiant It has been observed, including removing content from nearly 50,000 YouTube channels.

“Despite the lack of engagement, the volume and persistence this network has shown is remarkable,” Mr Huntley said on Twitter. “We anticipate that they will continue to experiment to achieve higher engagement and encourage others in the community to follow this actor and take action against them.”

Yoel Roth, head of site integrity at Twitter, said that while disinformation campaigns on social media are a unique problem, they set a precedent for other challenges faced by those working in cybersecurity.

“These are established businesses,” Mr. Roth tweeted, referring to the people behind the digital influence campaign. “This is why fighting disinformation is often very similar to fighting spam; The content is different, but the tactics remain basically the same.”

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