How often are social media accounts hacked? Legislation Targets Social Media as Haven for Cyber-Terrorists as FBI Unseals New Indictments

How often are social media accounts hacked? Legislation Targets Social Media as Haven for Cyber-Terrorists as FBI Unseals New Indictments

On March 24th of this year, newly unsealed indictments the FBI released, confirmed what many cyber experts had already known:

American infrastructure is in grave danger. The indictments showed that four Russian government agents were charged for their role in what was called two “Historical Hacking Campaigns” targeting critical infrastructure worldwide.

The indictments also showed that the defendant’s targeted both the software and hardware for operational technology systems. Related to critical infrastructure, and those men specifically had involvement in a robust operation that was:

“attempting, supporting and conducting computer intrusions that together, in two separate conspiracies, targeted the global energy sector between 2012 and 2018.”

A deep dive into the indictments reveals Russian attacks against countries that are members of both the European Union (EU) and NATO. In addition, the UK and Ireland received attacks. The 1st indictment, The United States v. Evgeny Viktorovich Gladkikh, involved the use of Triton malware. Firstly, a strain of code designed to compromising industrial control systems (ICS). Like the kind used by energy refineries and cause them to operate in an unsafe manner while giving the appearance of operating correctly. The indictment stated that this was to provide:

“the defendant and his co-conspirators the ability to cause damage to the refinery, injury to anyone nearby, and economic harm.”

Secondly, the other unsealed indictment was also related to the hacking of ICS or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. This indictment was against 3 Russian hackers who were Pavel Aleksandrovich Akulov, Mikhail Mikhailovich Gavrilov, and Marat Valeryevich Tyukov. These individuals are members of the Russian Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Center 16. A unit known within the hacking community by several names that include:

  • “Dragonfly”
  • “Berzerk Bear”
  • “Energetic Bear”
  • “Crouching Yeti” 

Furthermore, the charges include coordinated attacks between 2012 and 2017.

Moreover, ones that designed to further the Russian government’s efforts to “maintain surreptitious, unauthorized and persistent access to the computer networks of companies and organizations in the international energy sector. Including oil and gas firms, nuclear power plants, and utility and power transmission companies.”

These kinds of attacks are different from the kind that most Americans are more familiar with. Like the historic 2021 Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods attacks achieved by state-sponsored Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Gangs affiliated with the Kremlin and used ransomware to demand millions from the victims. In addition, these attacks continued regularly but were only seeking to cause a temporary halt to operations. In addition, to a large ransom payout. 

These revelations arrived just as the US House of Representatives introduced a new piece of House legislation, the:

“No Publicity for Terrorists Act”

One that would mandate all social media platforms remove any known terrorist organizations on their platform. Or face a $50,000 fine for each infraction.

The new bill is spearheaded by Congressman Madison Cawthorn, (R-NC). Who authored the bill, alongside with Congressman Bob Good (R-VA)

“There is no excuse or justification for Big Tech to give known terrorists a dangerous platform.”

Bob Good wrote in a statement introducing the new legislation.

“This is especially egregious given Big Tech’s track record of regularly and unjustifiably censoring conservative voices like President [Donald] Trump, and members of Congress.”

In conclusion, Social Media has long served as a haven for hackers and other terrorists to organize their activities. Furthermore, outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Telegram, all have provided a safe haven for hackers to communicate and organize activities in the past.

Whether the bill receives enough bi-partisan support to pass in the Democratically controlled House remains uncertain. But there is certainly enough justification for its existence. Lastly, it would serve to keep the US, if not the world, safer from cybercriminals and terrorists. 

How often are social media accounts hacked? Legislation Targets Social Media as Haven for Cyber-Terrorists as FBI Unseals New Indictments

Julio is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. Julio’s writing focuses on cybersecurity and politics. Websites including Newsmax, Townhall, American Thinker and BizPacReview have published Julio’s work.

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