Treasury Department sanctions alleged Russian cyber-espionage, disinformation sources

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Mar 3, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

The Biden administration on Thursday sanctioned Russian oligarchs and organizations for their role in spreading disinformation and supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, among them a news agency the Treasury Department says has ties to a Russian cyber-espionage and offensive unit.

The sanctions targeted nine employees of InfoRos, a nominal news agency primarily run by the GRU, which controls the Russian military intelligence service and operates its own special forces units. According to the Treasury Department, the GRU’s 72nd Main Intelligence Information Center, a unit within Russia’s Information Operations Troops, functions as Russia’s “military force for conducting cyber espionage, influence, and offensive cyber operations” and is InfoRos’ operator.

In a news release, the Treasury Department said InfoRos is a network of more than 1,000 websites which “spread false conspiracy narratives and disinformation promoted by GRU officials.” For example, in early December, 2021, Treasury officials said one Ukraine-based InfoRos writer contributed an editorial which argued Ukraine was provoking Russia into war.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. State Department said the sanctions targeting InfoRos are meant to intensify pressure on Russia and shut down channels for

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