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Journalist Olena Dub subject to massive cyber-attack by Russian bots

12.04.2021, 18:02
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Journalist, media consultant, ex-head of the social networks department of Krym.Realii (2015-2020) was subjected to a massive attack targeting her social media accounts and mobile phone, the attack was made from Russian telephone numbers. She wrote about this on her Facebook page and told IMI.

According to her, she currently receives a lot of messages on social networks, SMS containing codes to log in to social network accounts, calls from Russian telephone numbers and SMS with threats.

“Calls and messages are coming right now even. To my What’sapp, on my phone and in my Telegram, ” Olena told IMI.

She believes that the attack comes from Russia, as messages and threats come from Russian phone numbers.

Olena Dub found the attack to be related to her work for Krym.Realii (RFE/RL), but she added that quitted that job a long time ago.

"I have no idea what I am being attacked for. This is for the first time that I am under a psychological attack on me. There were attempts to hack my Facebook page while working for Krym.Realii, but never before it was like that, ”she told IMI.

On Facebook, Olena posted some examples of threats she received: "Soon I will smash your family with my boots" and "Ku-ku, it's a roar, a Russian storm is approaching." She also receives the following messages from anonymous people in Telegram: "what do you care of Crimea", "what country did you crap up", "Alena, what do you mess for with Russian Crimea".

The Digital Security Laboratory expert Anton Kushnir told IMI that that was a psychological pressure to frighten her.

"It's not about hacking, it's about trying to bombard someone with a lot of messages and intimidate a person. But, of course, you can combine them - that is, to overwhelm a person with text messages, and try to intercept some and go to some messengers "- said the expert.

In addition, Anton Kushnir does not exclude that the attack could have been carried out by the Russians.

"I'm afraid it will be difficult to prove for sure the attribution of who is behind this attack. But I would say that since the phone numbers are Russian, they write clearly pro-Russian slogans, moreover, they try to register for services like "Yandex EDA", which are non-existent here, one could say that they are Russian. But who exactly it is, you can't say at once, except we have to make a longer investigation, but there is no guarantee there either, ”he said.

The digital security lab explains that if you are the victim of such an attack, first of all, you should not make panic. "It will be a good tactic to just wait, the enthusiasm of attackers will soon wane (or rather duration of the attack they paid for)," the statement said.

According to the report, the attackers are trying to cause panic and inability to work. “This can be compared to a denial-of-service attack on a website: the site receives more requests than it can handle and stops working. Only when it concerns people, it is accompanied by fear, as they don’t understand what is going on, "- said in a statement.

The Lab also notes that the flow of SMS with authentication codes does not in any way indicate that the accounts have been hacked. "Attackers simply enter your phone number in a mobile application or on the site, and the service sends you a login code, and repeats this process over and over again for many services - as a result you receive a stream of SMS with codes," – the experts said.


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