2 min Security

Netherlands disrupts Russian disinformation campaign

Netherlands disrupts Russian disinformation campaign

The Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD, in cooperation with the National Police, have taken offline a Russian server hosted in the Netherlands. The server was spreading disinformation for the US presidential election in November this year and also targeted other countries.

The server, now taken offline, was used by the Russian hackers to host tooling for creating fake accounts for the social media platform X, among others. According to the AIVD, MIVD and police, the tool was “very likely” aimed at spreading disinformation to influence the “American political debate.” In addition, the server also focused on spreading disinformation to the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Spain, Ukraine and Israel. There is no indication that the offensive cyber campaign was used to influence public debate in the Netherlands or other European countries.

“The AIVD and MIVD have been warning for some time to be vigilant against covert influence by states such as Russia. They are showing with this operation that they are able to act against this, also together with friendly services. Even if the influence takes place in another country and uses Dutch infrastructure”, indicates Interior Minister Judith Uitermark (NSC) in a comment. Where exactly the server was hosted in the Netherlands is not known

Software used

The server specifically ran the AI tool Meliorator to create fake social media accounts of different nationalities that, in turn, distributed posts of disinformation. The malicious tool consisted of other tools such as the admin interface ‘Brigadir’ and a seedig tool ‘Taras’.

In a special U.S. Department of Justice Cyber Security Advisory, the intelligence agencies involved explain exactly how the Meliorator tool works and how social media can recognize the tool.

Read also: Netherlands gets six Russian hackers put on European sanctions list