Last Friday’s fake news story alleging that a US military officer had contracted the coronavirus in Lithuania was also emailed to some local authorities, the Armed Forces said on Monday.
According to the military, five news websites – Kauno.diena.lt, Klaipeda.diena.lt, Diena.lt, Kaunas.kasvyksta.lt and Baltictimes.com – were hacked to post the fake story, and falsified emails were sent to some authorities. Read more: Coronavirus: hackers post fake story about infected US soldier in Lithuania
“In the afternoon, some of the country’s institutions and municipalities received falsified emails claiming that they were from the Strategic Communication Department’s spokesman and ‘confirming’ the coronavirus case in Lithuania,” Laimis Bratikas, the head of the Military Public Relations Division of the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ Strategic Communications Department, said in a comment to BNS.
These institutions included the municipality of Švenčionys District, where the Pabradė military training area is located, and the Health Ministry, he added. Some 500 US troops with armour are currently deployed on rotation in Pabradė.
The authorities turned to the National Cyber Security Center and the Strategic Communications Department after receiving these emails, the spokesman said.
“Lithuanian military analysts can still see that false information is being spread online and on social networks in the Lithuanian, English and Russian languages,” he added.
According to Bratikas, the cyberattack that involved several stages was aimed at turning the public against the Allies. Read more: Fake news target NATO exercises; several news websites hacked in Latvia and Lithuania
This is not the first time that Lithuanian online news sites have been hacked to post fake news about the country’s defence.
Last year, fake news about a military exercise underway in Lithuania appeared on several news websites.
Lithuanian intelligence bodies say the biggest threat to Lithuania’s cyberspace comes from Russia’s intelligence and security services. Read more: Bots on the Ground: Half of Russian tweets on NATO in Baltics and Poland come from bot-networks