Reddit revealed that Russian hackers violated the platform and officially leaked commercially documents of USA and the United Kingdom. Experts believe that the leak occurred within one long lasting hacking campaign for political purposes.
The leak occurred at the end of October. A Reddit user by the name Gregoratior, he published archives from the US-UK trade talks, which had taken place at the Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG).
Experts have found that the leaked documents are authentic and related to the imminent British elections, which will take place on December 12.
According to the documents, the UK Conservative Party plans to sell the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) in an effort to create favorable terms of cooperation with the US side. The publication of these documents was helpful to the opposing Labor Party, which took advantage of the leakage to reinforce his position and attract more voters.
Reddit is blocking 61 accounts
"We researched this [Gregoratior] account and the accounts associated with it, and we believe it was part of a campaign "It comes from Russia," Reddit said.
"As a result of this investigation, we are blocking 1 subreddit "and 61 accounts following our policies against voter manipulation and abuse of our platform," the company said.
According to Reddit, Gregoratior and the rest of 60 are blocked accounts, associated with a Russian political campaign that had also been blocked by Facebook in May.
DFRLAB: The campaign was started by 2014
Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has linked its accounts Facebook with a long campaign coming from Russia and targeting various countries. DFRLab called the campaign “Secondary Infection”.
According to the DFRLab, the purpose of this Russian campaign was to "spread false stories affecting western interests». Initially, Russian hackers spread fake stories in general Internet and then used Facebook accounts.
The DFRLab stated that the Secondary Infektion campaign was using at least in six languages, it used more than 30 platforms and handled dozens of fake accounts. The campaign seems to have started from 2014.
"The aim of the operation seems to have been to discredit and divide the western countries," DFRLab said. Some of the fake news circulated were aimed at create tensions between NATO allies, especially Germany and the United States, as well as Britain and the United States.
"The operation came from Russia. It was long-term, advanced and had sufficient resources (financial) ".
The campaign reportedly highlighted commercial issues between them countries. Sometimes news covered issues that were directly related to Russian foreign policy.
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Researchers noted that the tactics used in this campaign they looked like attacks that targeted the US presidential election on 2016.
Hackers affiliated with the Russian government had breached the Democratic National Commission's servers and stolen documents and emails, which they posted through a fake account called 'Guccifer 2.0'.
In the current campaign, Gregoratior worked in a similar way. He stole confidential data and posted them online. However, the leakage of these documents did not have as great an impact as that of 2016.