Paris, 13 June 2023 (TDI): France’s Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, unveils a groundbreaking revelation of an intricate and highly sophisticated digital information manipulation campaign, meticulously orchestrated to target the nation.
In a recent statement, Minister Colonna exposed the nefarious involvement of Russian actors, alongside a web of government bodies and affiliated organizations connected to the Russian State, all operating with a singular objective: the deliberate dissemination of misinformation.
This unsettling development calls for heightened vigilance and serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to safeguard the integrity of our digital landscape.
Statement by @MinColonna | The 🇫🇷authorities have revealed a digital information manipulation campaign against 🇫🇷involving Russian actors & to which government bodies or bodies affiliated with the Russian State have participated by spreading misinformationhttps://t.co/xK5ApnOvkh pic.twitter.com/GRaXCEciPt
— France Diplomacy🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@francediplo_EN) June 13, 2023
The alleged insidious campaign encompasses several tactics, including the creation of fake web pages that mimic the identity of national media outlets and government websites, as well as the establishment of counterfeit social media accounts.
According to the French minister, VIGINUM, an agency specializing in cybersecurity, enabled the competent French authorities to promptly implement protective measures. Furthermore, additional technical measures are currently underway.
Notably, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs successfully thwarted an attempt to usurp its identity on its official website.
Investigations conducted by VIGINUM have provided crucial evidence pointing towards the involvement of Russian or Russian-speaking individuals, as well as several Russian companies, in the planning and execution of this nefarious campaign.
Moreover, VIGINUM has discovered that certain government bodies or entities affiliated with the Russian State actively participated in disseminating the manipulated content.
Summaries of VIGINUM’s investigations are accessible on the websites of France Diplomatie and the General Secretariat for Defence and National Security (SGDSN).
The active participation of Russian cultural centers and embassies in spreading content generated by this campaign, including through their official social media accounts, serves as additional evidence of Russia’s hybrid strategy aimed at undermining peaceful democratic discourse and damaging democratic institutions.
France unequivocally condemns these actions, which are unbecoming of a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
The French authorities are collaborating closely with their international partners to ensure the failure of the alleged Russian hybrid war.
The statement also states that the French government remains resolute in its support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggressive war, undeterred by any attempts at manipulation.