The Cyber Department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has eliminated a group of hackers who stole the accounts of around 30 million people and sold them on the dark web.
Hackers used malware to obtain credentials and other sensitive data available on victims’ systems in Ukraine and the European Union.
The SSU claims the threat actor offered data packs, which were bought in bulk by pro-Kremlin propagandists, who then used the accounts to spread fake news on social media, spread panic and cause destabilization in Ukraine and other countries.
“According to preliminary data, the hackers sold about 30 million accounts and received a ‘profit’ of almost 14 million UAH ($380,000),” the official said. SSU informs.
They used anonymous dark web marketplaces to sell this information and received payments through YuMoney, Qiwi and WebMoney, which are banned in Ukraine.
During searches of the authors’ home in Lviv, Ukraine, police found and confiscated several hard drives containing stolen personal data, as well as computers, SIM cards, mobile phones and USB drives.
The number of individuals arrested remains unknown, but they all face criminal charges for the unauthorized sale or distribution of restricted access information stored on computers and networks. These charges carry prison sentences of several years.
The spread of fake news about the war has turned into an epidemic in Ukraine, starting immediately after the first stages of the Russian invasion. The deluge of disinformation and misinformation still continues.
In Marchthe SSU took down five disinformation bot farms across the country, which were using 100,000 fake social media accounts. In Augusta huge robot farm with one million robots, was discovered and destroyed by Ukrainian police.
In Septemberthe SSU found two more bot farms spreading fake news on social media through 7,000 accounts.
In many cases, bot farms are easier to spot, but by using accounts of real people, the chances of the operation being discovered are much lower due to message history and organic activity. .