Someone is sending propaganda texts to Ukrainian soldiers

Hmm, who has a conflict and IMSI catchers, we wonder


An ongoing campaign of propaganda-texting Ukrainian solders has, unsurprisingly, been attributed to Russian forces equipped with cell site simulators (IMSI-catchers).

The “fake texts” started lighting up the soldiers' mobes while a TV journalist, Julia Kirienko, was sheltering with them, according to Associated Press.

Another Associated Press journalist, Raphael Satter, Tweeted that he'd documented 40 such messages so far:

Satter later explained his belief that fake cell towers or IMSI-catchers were involved, because the texts are highly localised, arrive when the phones are showing no reception, and don't leave footprints in carrier networks.

As well as straight-out threats like “your body will be found when the snow melts”, some of the messages pretended recipients were getting their accounts skimmed by the “Anti-Terrorism Operation”:

AP's story likened the campaign to “dropping leaflets”, and quoted Kyoto University of the United States academic Nancy Snow describing the messages as “pinpoint propaganda”.

The campaign has been going on since 2014, AP writes, citing Russia's Military Review magazine for a possible source: the country's LEER-3 electronic warfare system, which includes a drone-mounted cell site simulator. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022