Ukraine’s SBU security service has uncovered and dismantled a Russian operation that used Meta’s WhatsApp encrypted messenger to spam Ukrainian service members with messages urging them to lay down arms, U.S. media outlet Vice reported on April 1.
According to the SBU, around 5,000 such messages were sent to Ukrainian military personnel and police.
Law enforcement characterized this as “a special information operation” that aimed to “destabilize the morale of Ukrainian service members.”
Russian messages contained claims of the Ukrainian government fleeing the capital, and called the defense of the country “a lost cause.”
The bot farm that carried out the spamming of Ukrainian troops was located in the city of Dnipro, and was “controlled remotely from Russia.”
Earlier in the course of the invasion, the SBU caught a hacker who was providing Russian forces with communications, helping relay commands to some regiments, and spreading Moscow’s propaganda via text messages.
“This hacker would receive thousands of calls daily; a significant number of them came from the high command of the enemy’s army,” the SBU said.