Ukraine’s Security Service Exposes Large Russian Sock Puppet Farm

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) blocked the operation of a sock puppet farm with a capacity of more than 18,000 accounts, which worked on commission from curators from the aggressor state and some Ukrainian political forces.

In course of the pre-trial investigation, the SBU officers established that the sock puppet farm was set up by three Kyiv residents. They registered accounts in banned Russian e-mail services. In particular, in October last year, during the local council elections, the criminals disseminated unreliable information about the situation in Ukraine. They artificially stepped up social tension by driving up the number of answers in opinion polls, artificially increasing the number of planted shares and through comments of certain public opinion leaders and politicians.

Payment for services was transferred through banned Russian e-wallets. This method allowed ensuring the anonymity of customers who ordered support for the necessary publications on social media sites. The price varied depending on the complexity of the technical tasks and the specifics of the target audience.

During searches at the site of the sock puppet farm in one of the dormitories in Kyiv city, the law enforcement officers, in particular, found sanctioned software products on the server equipment. Computer equipment and SIM cards of mobile operators used in illegal activities were confiscated.

Natalia Tolub

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