US Military announced yesterday that it shut down an Internet Research Agency (IRA) located in Russian port city of St. Petersburg on November 6th last year- just before the 2018 Midterm elections. IRA is believed to be working secretly for Russian Intelligence and was established to spread disinformation such as fake news in the United States before the elections in order to influence the American populace.
Evgeny Prigozhin is the boss of IRA, who is actually into the business of catering and whose clients include some of the top Russian intelligence officials from Kremlin. Moreover, the news is out that Evgeny served as a cook to Russian President Vladimir Putin for years, before stepping into the catering business in 2013.
According to the Washington Post, the US Cyber Command targeted the IRA servers on November 5th, 2018 and managed to intercept the network within a couple of hours. Then they shut down access of the Kremlin based outfit with the outside world, thus preventing the spread of fake news before the midterm elections.
Pentagon’s Cyberwarfare unit is silent on the issue and isn’t ready to comment on the topic as of now due to its sensitivity.
IRA happens to be the same agency which was involved in spreading misinformation during the 2016 US elections and influencing the voters to tamper the ambition of Hillary Clinton from the presidential race; eventually making Donald Trump the 45th US President.
On the other hand, Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that his country’s critical infrastructure like the presidential website has been constantly experiencing cyber attacks from the US and Europe.
Peskov also stated in his statement that the allegations made by US intelligence over Russia influencing 2018 midterm elections are completely baseless.