Russia targets Pentagon workers Twitter accounts

An article published in the TIME quoted an official report describing Russia’s use of Twitter as a tool of international espionage. The report which was circulated through the intelligence community claimed agents of the Russian government to send malware-laced Twitter messages to more than 10,000 employees of the US Department of Defense.

Targeted Pentagon employees were reportedly tailored to suit the recipient's interests to get them to click on it. Once clicked, the hackers would be able to take over the user's account, computer and mobile.

“Depending on the interests of the targets, the messages offered links to stories on recent sporting events or the Oscars, which had taken place the previous weekend,” the Time report reads. “When clicked, the links took users to a Russian-controlled server that downloaded a program allowing Moscow's hackers to take control of the victim's phone or computer — and Twitter account.” 

According to TIME, all this was mentioned in the report which was sent to U.S. counterintelligence officials in March.

It's not yet known if any devices or accounts were actually hacked. But, apparently this took place after the 2016 election. Networks of bot accounts have been a persistent problem on Twitter over the course of the election. In October, analysts detected a network of zero-follower accounts impersonating American teens to retweet pro-Trump sentiments. The FBI is reportedly investigating similar networks of Twitter bots as part of its probe into influence on the 2016 election.

It’s a new tactic for Russian groups, which have more typically relied on phishing to spread malware and Twitter accounts for political influence in the US. Experts believe that hackers have even leaked French president Emmanuel Macron's emails just days before France's recent election.

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