Express News Service
KOCHI: Amid escalating tensions along the Sino-Indian border, the cyberspace has been witnessing a concerted misinformation campaign in recent days aimed at defaming India. A city-based cybersecurity agency, which monitors web activity, found that several hundred fake accounts — most of them from Pakistan — are spreading false information about the actual situation on the Line of Actual Control.
Technisanct, the private cybersecurity firm, found that such activities are carried out through Twitter and Telegram. “Fake profiles are created with Chinese identity and photographs to convince users that the posts are genuine,” said. Nandakishore Harikumar, chief executive officer(CEO), Technisanct.
Over 500 Twitter handles used to spread the false information have been identified by Technisanct. “We identified multiple Pak-operated handles that started to change names and translate tweets into Chinese. Most of these accounts create a feeling that Pakistan is highly backed by China,” he said.
Nandakishore said he suspects that these accounts are backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence(ISI) agency. “Pakistan has been maintaining multiple digital war fronts. Digital warfare had peaked after the abrogation of Article 370. Weekly, two trending activities happen against India,” he said. The Technisanct team used a platform called Twint and trends map to gather information on the discussions that happened in the aftermath of the Ladakh issue. After observing these Twitter accounts, their followers, and past tweets, it became clear that these are operated for creating a pro-Pakistan narrative.
This is organised activity, he said.
For instance, an account named ‘YasifXi’ from Pakistan which looked like a Chinese account tweeted the photo of two officers from both sides having a conversation with the hashtags #WorldWar3 and #LadakhBorder. From its geographical location, it was established that the tweets were from Pakistan, with a few also from Jammu and Kashmir. Most of the tweets gathered around 1,000 plus retweets and 5,000 plus ‘likes’ which would have aided in the trend. An official with Kerala Police’s Cyberdome said in the past few weeks, there has been a surge in anti-India cyber propaganda. “We can only identify such accounts and report them to Twitter. It is up to Twitter to take down such accounts,” he said.