Justice Department Seizes Domains Linked to Russian Disinformation Campaign

Justice Department Seizes Domains Linked to Russian Disinformation Campaign

The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that it has seized two domains allegedly critical to a disinformation campaign by Russian news network RT, which were used to spread disinformation through X Corp.

Both domains were used to disseminate information via 968 X accounts. Despite some reports to the contrary, the X accounts were only “searched” by the Justice Department and were not seized. X did, however, voluntarily suspend bot accounts identified as violating the terms of service.

The seized domains were used to create social media bot farms, powered by artificial intelligence, that spread false information in the United States and abroad. The bot farm allegedly used elements of AI to create fictitious social media profiles pretending to belong to individuals in the United States, which the operators then used to promote messages that supported the goals of the Russian government.

In parallel with the seizure of the domains, the FBI, working with its international law enforcement partners in Canada and the Netherlands, issued a joint cybersecurity advisory detailing how the bot farm’s creators leveraged AI to advance their disinformation scheme. The advisory was designed to help social media platforms and researchers identify and prevent further use of this technology by the Russian government.

The advisory recommends that social media platforms verify that accounts are created and managed by real people, similar to the Know Your Customer guidelines. Additionally, they are advised to review and update their authentication and verification processes based on the information provided in the advisory.

Other recommended protocols include identifying and reviewing users with suspicious user agent strings and securing default user accounts by using multi-factor authentication and ensuring privacy and acceptable behavior settings are in place.

“Today’s action demonstrates that the Department of Justice and our partners will not tolerate Russian government actors and their agents deploying AI to sow disinformation and fuel division among Americans,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement. “As malicious actors accelerate their criminal use of AI, the Department of Justice will respond, and we will prioritize disruptive actions with our international partners and the private sector.”

Image: SiliconANGLE/Ideogram

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