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A Pro-China Online Influence Campaign is Targeting the Rare-Earths Industry

Wednesday June 29, 2022. 10:10 PM , from Slashdot
Disinformation operatives seek to undermine firms in the Western world as China fights to maintain near-monopoly power. From a report: An online influence campaign carried out by a group that promotes China's political interests is targeting Western companies that mine and process rare-earth elements, according to a new report from cybersecurity firm Mandiant. The campaign, which is playing out in Facebook groups and micro-targeted tweets, is trying to stoke environmentalist protests against the companies in the US. The operation is attributed to an online group code-named Dragonbridge, which has also been responsible for campaigns claiming that covid-19 originated in the United States. Its latest campaign has increased in intensity in recent weeks as part of a strategic battle between China and its Western adversaries over who controls the precious resources and their own destiny.

'We are headed to a future where the likelihood of tools like influence operations being used against key industries will only increase,' says John Hultquist, Mandiant's head of intelligence. 'As competition between the US and China changes, the nature of the competition may become more aggressive.' It's also proof that influence campaigns are not easy: Dragonbridge has largely failed in its bid to draw negative attention to the Western companies. Shane Huntley, who directs Google's Threat Analysis Group and has tracked Dragonbridge since 2019, previously tweeted that his team has taken an 'aggressive' approach against the influence operation but that 'it really is amazing for all the effort put in how LITTLE engagement these channels get from real viewers.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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