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Someone is sending propaganda texts to Ukrainian soldiers

Hmm, who has a conflict and IMSI catchers, we wonder

By Richard Chirgwin, 12 May 2017

An ongoing campaign of propaganda-texting Ukrainian solders has, unsurprisingly, been attributed to Russian forces equipped with cell site simulators (IMSI-catchers).

The “fake texts” started lighting up the soldiers' mobes while a TV journalist, Julia Kirienko, was sheltering with them, according to Associated Press.

Another Associated Press journalist, Raphael Satter, Tweeted that he'd documented 40 such messages so far:

Satter later explained his belief that fake cell towers or IMSI-catchers were involved, because the texts are highly localised, arrive when the phones are showing no reception, and don't leave footprints in carrier networks.

As well as straight-out threats like “your body will be found when the snow melts”, some of the messages pretended recipients were getting their accounts skimmed by the “Anti-Terrorism Operation”:

AP's story likened the campaign to “dropping leaflets”, and quoted Kyoto University of the United States academic Nancy Snow describing the messages as “pinpoint propaganda”.

The campaign has been going on since 2014, AP writes, citing Russia's Military Review magazine for a possible source: the country's LEER-3 electronic warfare system, which includes a drone-mounted cell site simulator. ®

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