Russian disinformation marketing campaign targets Paris Games, Microsoft says | EUROtoday

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Russia is waging a “malign” disinformation marketing campaign aimed on the Paris Olympics and French President Emmanuel Macron, Microsoft warned on Tuesday, accusations Moscow dismissed as “slander”.

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Russia is waging an intense disinformation marketing campaign aimed toward tarnishing the popularity of the International Olympic Committee and stoking fears of violence at this summer season’s Paris Games, based on a brand new report from Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center.

According to Microsoft, the affect operations utilise a potent combine of pretend movies, fictitious information tales, and AI-generated impersonations, together with the faked voice of Hollywood star Tom Cruise.

“Russia is ramping up these malign campaigns against France, President (Emmanuel) Macron, the IOC, and the Paris Olympics,” stated Clint Watts, common supervisor of the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center, in a weblog submit Sunday.

“While Russia has a decades-long history of targeting the Olympic Games, the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center has observed old tactics blending with artificial intelligence… that may intensify as the 2024 Paris opening ceremony approaches,” he added.

The report revealed that two prolific Russian cyber-actor teams, Storm-1679 and Doppelganger, have pivoted operations over the previous yr to straight goal the Olympics.

Their malicious actions escalated in June 2023 with the discharge on Telegram of a feature-length faux documentary titled “Olympics Has Fallen.”

Using AI-generated audio impersonating “Top Gun” actor Cruise, slick pc graphics, and a classy advertising and marketing rollout, the movie disparages the IOC in an obvious bid to erode international public help of the Games.

Storm-1679 has additionally repeatedly manufactured and amplified fictionalised movies, information clips, and press statements falsely claiming that fears of terrorism have sparked a wave of ticket cancellations and property insurance coverage purchases amongst Parisians.

Threat group Doppelganger in the meantime intensified anti-Olympics messaging throughout its community of 15 disinformation web sites and solid content material from French information shops, like Le Parisien, to smear Macron.

Microsoft stated it suspected that Russian teams had been additionally behind the circulation of pretend graffiti photos threatening a repeat of the 1972 Munich Olympic bloodbath of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants.

As the July 26 Opening Ceremony looms, Microsoft anticipates the Russian disinformation blitz will intensify throughout extra languages and media codecs.

Watts warned the campaigns may even try real-world provocations close to Olympic venues to sow additional chaos.

The marketing campaign shouldn’t be surprising.

Macron in April stated he had “no doubt” Russia was focusing on the Paris Olympics together with with disinformation.

The Kremlin “is feeding every day the idea that we can’t do this or that, that there’s a risk,” he stated.