back to article Russia takes gold for disinformation as Olympics approach

Still throwing toys out the pram over its relationship with international sport, Russia is engaged in a multi-pronged disinformation campaign against the Olympic Games and host nation France that's intensifying as the opening ceremony approaches. Microsoft said on Sunday that it's tracking a number of Russia-affiliated cyber …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "trying to undermine French President Emmanuel Macron"

    They can stop trying. Given the amount of shit he's taking every day from regular French citizens, their efforts are wasted.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "trying to undermine French President Emmanuel Macron"

      I can't imagine there's many people, even among his biggest supporters, that think Macron is "in touch with the people". I don't get the impression that's even an image he tries to project. He'd rather be seen as a great statesman, bestriding the world stage like a colossus.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        He craves attention. Even when people are shouting at him, he's happy because they're paying attention to him.

        I sincerely believe he has a medical condition. He's not right in his mind. In any case, he's not fit to occupy the position he has.

        But that's democracy for you . . .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "trying to undermine French President Emmanuel Macron"

      Giving politicians flak ... is *never* a waste !!!

      The more the merrier !!!

      It's your duty as a voter (I hope you *do/did* vote !!!) !!!

      :)

  2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    It's truly pathetic!

    I know that dictatorships like to use sport to big themselves up. And to be fair democratic governments are sometimes guilty of playing the sports PR game too.

    But Russia have gone way further in this than even during the Cold War. To the point that it's actually quite an interesting window into the sad little minds of Putin's inner circle.

    Doping to do well at your own Olympics? Well it's been done a few times. And national anti-doping authoritites giving "the benefit of the doubt" to their star athletes is a truly global problem. Lance Armstrong, for one high profile example.

    But I don't remember any country using their secret police to break into a drugs testing lab to remove samples from athletes on drugs, who were about to fail tests. The Russians sent the FSB into a lab in Russia being used during the Sochi Winter Olympics. It's one of the reasons they got banned from competition - I'm not certain the Olympic committee would actually have thrown them out over the invasion of Ukraine.

    Also the GRU team that the Dutch police arrested trying to hack into the networks at the International Criminal Court (over the shooting down of MH17, also had info on their laptops from trying to hack the OPCW (trying to get info on the Salisbury poisonings with Novichok) - and rather bizarrely an atttempt to hack into WADA (the World Anti-Doping Authority). Covering up your proxy forces shooting down an airliner full of innocent people and trying to cover up your use of chemical weapons is sort of what the GRU is for - they're a paramilitary intelligence organisation after all. But using the same team to try to discredit sporting doping controls is rather tragic.

    It's also this regime's MO. Got caught doping? Can't cover it up? Easy. Use crimial hackers who regularly work for your intelligence services (Fancy Bears) as a deniable proxy to steal data from WADA on athletes who have exemptions from drug bans - so you can release edited bits of this data as "leaks" to credulous western journalists - to claim that all athletes are taking drugs and only the pooor innocent Russian ones are banned - even though they are such sweet little lambikins. That was the TUE (therapeutic use exemptions) "scandal" from about ten years ago. The Guardian went particularly big on that one.

  3. VicMortimer Silver badge
    Happy

    At least Russia is finally putting their efforts into something good for once

    The olympics are hot garbage.

    They're incredibly profitable for the IOC - and a nightmare for everybody else, particularly the residents of whatever city is bamboozled into hosting the mess. Billions are spent on stadiums that immediately turn into blight until they're finally torn down. The host city and country lose huge amounts of money, cities are frequently bankrupted. Local businesses are shut down because they're not the giant multinational sponsors.

    I'm looking forward to the Paris olympic strikes. Even the cops are going on strike.

    1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: At least Russia is finally putting their efforts into something good for once

      "They're incredibly profitable for the IOC - and a nightmare for everybody else, particularly the residents of whatever city is bamboozled into hosting the mess. Billions are spent on stadiums that immediately turn into blight until they're finally torn down. The host city and country lose huge amounts of money, cities are frequently bankrupted. Local businesses are shut down because they're not the giant multinational sponsors."

      This. The first complaints I recall seeing about this (not that it hadn't happened before) were people GOING to the Olympics in Greece -- they went to see the Olympics, but also to check out the local stores and restaurants. Oh no! It was sponsored by, I don't know, Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Cocal Cola or whatever, so the local food vendors were all shut down. (To be honest, if I had a restaurant, I don't think I would shut down at the request of a private company -- and lets face it, IOC is a private company -- deciding to hold an event somewhere else in town, unless they decided to compensate me for this. I seriously doubt this is legal, but apparently happens routinely every olympics anyway.)

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: At least Russia is finally putting their efforts into something good for once

        Henry Wertz,

        I don't think I would shut down at the request of a private company -- and lets face it, IOC is a private company -- deciding to hold an event somewhere else in town, unless they decided to compensate me for this. I seriously doubt this is legal,

        I don't know the details, because I never bothered to check. But you can't host the Olympics unless your government agrees to pass special Olympic trademark law. This gives certain legal privileges to the IOC. So, for example, there's some kind of super trademark rights during the olympics - that trump normal trademark law in most countries that wouldn't allow you to trademark a place name and a traditional 2,500 year-old games. Plus also gives extra protection to the main sponsors.

        Not that this is unusual with big sporting events. There are many stories from cricket of people being kicked out of stadiums in ICC world cups for wearing say a Pepsi branded shirt in a Coke sponsored game - or forced to change - if they have another shirt.

    2. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: At least Russia is finally putting their efforts into something good for once

      They're incredibly profitable for the IOC - and a nightmare for everybody else, particularly the residents of whatever city is bamboozled into hosting the mess. Billions are spent on stadiums that immediately turn into blight until they're finally torn down. The host city and country lose huge amounts of money, cities are frequently bankrupted. Local businesses are shut down because they're not the giant multinational sponsors.

      Something for Brisbane to look forward to. :)

      The rustic yokel banana benders outside that city were opposed from the start which only goes to show...

      I thought Taco Bell was purely a US thing but DDG tells me there are 14 in Queensland alone.

      Unfortunately the name reminds me of the nasty PNG clostridial disease pigbel.

  4. t245t Silver badge
    Big Brother

    What's any of this got to do with information technology?

    What's any of this got to do with information technology? At least tag them with «politically inspired propagandist messaging». So as the rest of us can avoid them.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: What's any of this got to do with information technology?

      They use fake sites to store the information and various tactics, often bots on social media, so that anyone actually looks at them. Does it really need to have more of a connection? Also, are you really telling me that you couldn't understand that an article with the headline "Russia takes gold for disinformation as Olympics approach" was going to be about Russian propaganda and need a special category to help you manage that?

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: What's any of this got to do with information technology?

      Do you actually read any of the articles you rage against?

      1. t245t Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: What's any of this got to do with information technology?

        If I wanted to read anti-commie diatribes I would go to "The New American" /s

        1. this
          Headmaster

          Re: What's any of this got to do with information technology?

          I think you'll find that Russia ceased being communist some time ago

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: What's any of this got to do with information technology?

      Sorry that this article hurt your uncle Vlad's in the feelings

  5. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    'Official narrative'?

    The author of this lengthy piece cannot be faulted for lack of support for the NATO 'official narrative'.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: 'Official narrative'?

      Long John Silver,

      I don't think NATO really care about the Olympics all that much. They're much more worried about Russian aggression against its neighbours, and victims of past Russian aggression like Ukraine, and say the Baltic States. Given that Russia's excuse for invading Ukraine equally applies to Russian minorities in those states, which are part of NATO.

      Also if we're talking about spinning narratives, your line about evil NATO traducing poor innocent Russia might be considered a bit of a narrative in itself. Particularly as their is actual proof of the accusations made against Russia (hence it's not a narrative but the actual truth), but your defence can't really cite any evil anti-Russian conspiracy forcing it to take these actions. In fact you've not even bothered to make an argument. I'd dare to suggest it's because you haven't got a leg to stand on*.

      *Sorry, not sorry.

    2. Casca Silver badge

      Re: 'Official narrative'?

      Good vatnik. Now fuck off to russia

  6. veti Silver badge

    Classification?

    How exactly do you count "The poisoning of Sergei Skripal, his daughter, and UK citizens" as a hacking offence? That was straightforward attempted murder of the most old-fashioned sort.

    I get the impression this is practice. They're working up to significantly more important targets, but the experience from this one will be valuable.

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