ONLINE DISINFORMATION: Under the hood of a Doppelgänger

ONLINE DISINFORMATION is one of the defining issues of our time and the influence of fake news has become an acute threat to our society.

Disinformation undermines true journalism and steers the public opinion in highly charged topics such as immigration, climate change, armed conflicts or refugee and health crises. Social media platforms are the battlefield of disinformation.

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The war in Ukraine is no exception. This investigation presents how a large disinformation campaign targeting European audience with pro-Russian propaganda was active in social media for months. What started as an investigation of media clones of the German Der Spiegel, Bild and T-Online turned out to be a fascinating dive into the multimedia world of disinformation production.

ONLINE DISINFORMATION: Under the hood of a Doppelgänger

Tracing the infrastructure of a few websites helped us to discover dozens of websites spreading Russian propaganda related to the war in Ukraine. The campaign undermined the Ukrainian government, its citizens, and Western governments supporting Ukraine and supported the lift of sanctions against Russia.

Qurium’s infrastructure research does not only show how European infrastructure has been used to host the fake news sites, but also how new domains have been registered to keep the campaign running in the very same physical servers.

Qurium’s investigation is the result of a collaboration with EU DisinfoLab, an independent non-profit organization focused on tackling sophisticated disinformation campaigns targeting the EU. Qurium has focused on the technical aspects of the campaign.

Qurium forensics report:
Under the hood of a Doppelgänger

EU DisinfoLab report:
Doppelganger

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Disinformation)

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