AhnLab cybersecurity researchers: The malware is downloaded and executed from a WSF file within a compressed file, delivered via URL in phishing emails.
Someone is using social networks to scare children and young people in Italy by circulating strange propaganda videos about the crisis in Ukraine. The same contents also appeared in Sweden
Someone is using social networks to scare children and young people in Italy by circulating strange propaganda videos about the crisis in Ukraine. The footage at the beginning was accompanied by a rap song in Russian and showed soldiers, ships and planes in operational activity (even while firing). The text stated that NATO is preparing for a war in Europe and that World War III seems inevitable. They were disseminated on platforms used by young people, such as Tik Tok, and on video game channels. There are several, both before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and after. Each of which adds information on the danger of the New World War, taking advantage of the latest events. Moreover, Italy is not the only country where videos have circulated. The first, in fact, appeared days earlier in Sweden, unleashing hundreds of extremely worried children and parents, who invaded the switchboards of BRIS, the national agency for the protection of children. The newly formed Swedish Agency for Psychological Defense also intervened in the case, which launched an investigation to try to trace the authors of the films, currently unknown.
The leitmotif of this violent cyber propaganda campaign on young people is the real risk of a Third World War
The leitmotif of this violent cyber propaganda campaign on young people is the real risk of a Third World War involving one’s own country. The second is the target: the children. Not surprisingly, the contents were circulated only on social platforms and web channels frequented by young people. Finally, the objective is not officially declared but it is easy to understand, also in light of the reactions that the propaganda videos have aroused in Italy and Sweden: to terrorize children so that they affect the perception of their families on what is happening in relation to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. One could even hypothesize a secondary, broader purpose: to use the youngest to fuel divisions within the European Union over the reaction to be taken against Russia’s moves. All these actions are fully part of the Info-War strategy that Russia has long ago started in Europe, exploiting different types of actors, themes and echo chambers.
The authors of the Info-War campaign are PsyOps professionals
Moreover, who created the films is a professional, evidently expert in psychological operations (PsyOps). He has artfully packaged them according to the message he wanted to get across and to the chosen target. He has chosen an adequate “soundtrack”, indecipherable for those who do not chew Russian, but with sounds close to the youngsters. The shots mounted in the video follow those very popular today in videogames, especially First-Person Shooting (FPS) type, the first-person shooters in which you usually impersonate a warrior or a member of the special forces who has to carry out his mission. The same “targets” of the campaign are not accidental: the very young are those with the most permeable and malleable minds to strong solicitations, but also with fewer defenses against fake news and propaganda.
The first to understand the potential of these levers on the youngest were the ISIS jihadists
The first to understand and exploit the potential that this type of leverage could guarantee were the jihadist terrorist groups. Years ago, ISIS packaged and disseminated on its web and social channels a series of videos that used highly symbolic pop images for children (such as those taken from cult movies or video games) for recruitment purposes, inventing what was called “marketing-terrorism “. Whoever created the new propaganda videos is doing the same thing, but to achieve the opposite effect. Then the jihadists wanted to attract the “public” around a theme. Today, however, they want to terrify and make it refuse it.