Pokémon Go Implicated in Russian Election Interference

first_img This Malicious USB Cable Can Remotely Accept Hacker CommandsHackers Had More Than 1,000 DNA Test Kits Mailed to Random People Stay on target Whoa, boy does this story just keep going. Alright, if you’re not up to speed, it’s well-known now that the Russian government ran a massive misinformation campaign in an attempt to sway and divide the American public on key political issues before the 2016 presidential election. This is separate from the election machine hack attempts, as well as the intrusions detected throughout various agencies and the like, marking one of the largest and most wide-spread cyberattacks in… well… ever. And now, it seems, that our old friend Pokémon Go got hit.CNN reports that one campaign took the guise of the Black Lives Matter movement to exploit racial tension in the American public. The group used just about every social media platform imaginable including Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter as well as the Pokémon Go app.Known as “Don’t Shoot Us,” the campaign was organized by Russian agents linked to the Kremlin-based group, the Internet Research Agency. The IRA is a well-known “troll farm” and ground zero for some of Russia’s more obnoxious attempts at media manipulation.The campaign appeared to have two purposes. First, it leveraged the imagery of Black Lives Matter, as well as victims of police brutality to both buttress the movement and presented the group as a growing threat to those already fearful of black activism.The various social media accounts were laid out in such a way as to encourage users to fall down a rabbit hole, progressively psyching the person up — either to protest police brutality, or to demand action be taken against protestors.Videos posted to YouTube, for instance, included various tapes — both from bodycams and amateur video — showing police brutality. They were viewed hundreds of thousands of times.On the Pokemon Go front, “Don’t Shoot Us” launched a contest for the augmented reality game, encouraging users to go to the real-world locations of incidents of police brutality. Then the campaign told players to name their digital pets after victims. One post showed a Pokemon named “Eric Garner,” the victim of one of the more disturbing acts of recent police violence. Garner, unarmed, was placed in an illegal chokehold by New York Police and died as a result, with the medical examiner ruling the death a homicide.There’s no evidence thus far that any Pokemon Go players actually attempted to enter the contest, though the stated reward was Amazon gift cards.” It’s clear from the images shared with us by CNN that our game assets were appropriated and misused in promotions by third parties without our permission,” developer Niantic told CNN in a statement.“It is important to note that Pokémon GO, as a platform, was not and cannot be used to share information between users in the app, so our platform was in no way being used,” the company added. “This ‘contest’ required people to take screenshots from their phone and share over other social networks, not within our game. Niantic will consider our response as we learn more.”Local activist groups like those in Minnesota saw through the ruse and distanced themselves from the campaign.“We frequently support Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations,” Brandon Long, the state party chair for the Green Party of Minnesota told CNN. “We know pretty much all the organizers in town and that page wasn’t recognized by anyone.”Others dubbed it a “total troll job.”Even so, it’s unnerving to see how extensive these attempts were. And, combined with new threats like those we’ve seen in the Ukraine recently, things might get a lot worse before they get better.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *