Ukraine Busts Alleged Russian-Led Bot Farms Running 18,000 Accounts

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) on February 8 said it had raided two “bot farms” in Lviv that were managing up to 18,000 “fake” accounts, and alleged the operations were being supervised from Russia. “The SSU continues to prevent and counteract to information and subversive activities of Russian special services against Ukraine,” the SSU said in a press release. Three residents of Lviv region were involved in the bot farms, the SSU said, including two people running the farms from their apartments and a third who was responsible for technical maintenance. The bot farms were spreading false information on social media, such as “bomb threats at various facilities,” to sow panic, the security service alleged. The SSU said it had seized 3,000 SIM cards, GSM gateways, laptops containing evidence of illegal activity, and accounting records. The suspects may face charges of knowingly spreading “false information about a threat to public safety, destruction or damage to property,” the SSU said. Four days earlier, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said two residents in the northwest region of Zhytomyr had been arrested on suspicion of creating fake social-media accounts under Ukrainian names that were being used to “distribute destructive content aimed at shaking up the domestic political situation” in various parts of the country. Credit: Security Service of Ukraine via Storyful

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