A bot farm that helped spread Kremlin narratives was shut down in Vinnytsia

A bot farm that helped spread Kremlin narratives was shut down in Vinnytsia
A bot farm that helped spread Kremlin narratives was shut down in Vinnytsia Ukraine news 12 Jun 2023 at 12:17

The State Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has dismantled a bot farm in Vinnytsia that created up to 500 fake accounts daily for spreading Russian narratives. This was reported by the State Security Service of Ukraine. As a result of comprehensive measures, three organizers of the bot farm were successfully apprehended.

Specialized equipment was also discovered, enabling the creation of up to 500 anonymous accounts on social networks, including those banned in Ukraine. The ready-made bots were sold or rented to Russian SMM agencies operating under the auspices of Russian federal special services. Criminals could earn up to 20 hryvnias per day per rented account, receiving payments through their own cryptocurrency wallets and bank cards.

According to the case materials, Russian clients of the bot farm used fake accounts for mass dissemination of pro-Kremlin narratives, particularly regarding the situation on the front lines and the socio-political situation in Ukraine. Internet agitators from Russia also justified armed aggression against Ukraine and called for support of Russian nationalists, including on the international stage, by providing information "inserts" on behalf of "ordinary" citizens purportedly residing in Ukraine and the EU.

The organizers of the bot farm were found to be three residents of Vinnytsia. They had set up their equipment in a rented garage. During the searches, the following items were discovered and seized:

1. Computer equipment with evidence of illegal activities.
2. 3,000 SIM cards from Ukrainian and European mobile operators.
3. 13 SIM gateways and other equipment and software.
4. Bank cards through which they received payments from clients.

All the confiscated equipment has been sent for examination. Currently, charges under Article 361, Part 5 (Unauthorized interference with the operation of information (automated), electronic communication, information and communication systems, and electronic communication networks) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine are planned to be filed. The individuals could face up to 15 years of imprisonment.


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