I said in a post last week that I’m going to try to keep you all current on what we know about information operations, as we approach November’s elections and the 2020 presidential election. I’ll post short summaries or longer commentaries if they are warranted. We’ve all got to stay alert for malign influencers.
The FBI has launched two websites, Protected Voices and Combating Foreign Influence. Protected Voices offers advice on cyberhygiene – they have a set of short videos on things like passwords, browser safety, wi-fi, and router hardening. Looks like they might be useful for internal corporation training or just anyone who has questions about the various topics. Combating Foreign Influence is newer and intends “to educate the public about the threats faced from disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and the overall impact of foreign influence on society.”
I’m a little dubious about government initiatives of this sort, but it was the FBI and others who went to President Obama in summer 2016 to tell him that the Russians were doing damage. So I’ll keep an eye on these sites. I also hope that the jackal computer nerds will chime in too.
BuzzFeed has a big article on Russian propaganda operations in the Baltic states. Three news outlets set up in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to spread the Russian point of view without saying that’s what they were doing.
The websites presented themselves as independent news outlets, but in fact, editorial lines were dictated directly by Moscow.
The purpose was to turn Russian speakers in those three countries toward Russia and away from the countries they live in. The article is very detailed, working from Skype calls among the managers of the news outlets. I kept thinking about Fox News as something of an analogy in the United States.