40 per cent of Macron's campaign hack tweets are from automated accounts

Almost 40 per cent tweets about French presidential elections winner, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron's campaign hack with the hashtag #MacronGate came from automated accounts or what are commonly referred as bots, media reports said. One account tweeted 1,668 times in 24 hours, which is more than one tweet per minute with no sleep, a report in ReCode quoted Nicole Perlroth, a New York Times cybersecurity reporter as saying on Saturday.

Macron, has been the victim of a "massive and coordinated hacking operation", after files purporting to be from the campaign were posted online via social media. Campaign officials in a statement said the perpetrators of the hack, revealed less than 48 hours before the final presidential runoff on Sunday against far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, had mixed fake documents with authentic ones "in order to create confusion and misinformation".

Macron has won in the polls against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen. These five per cent accounts responsible for trending #MacronGate, therefore, appears to be run by a software rather by humans. About 14.5 gigabytes of emails, personal and business documents and links to the 70,000-plus files were posted on pastebin, a text-sharing site, just before 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

But it is not clear what parts of the documents are authentic as Macron's campaign claimed that fake information has been mixed in with actually hacked documents to spread misinformation. It is believed that Russia was involved with the hack as a cybersecurity firm Trend Micro has found that the same Russian-government linked hacking group "Pawn Storm" had infiltrated the US Democratic National Committee.

However, this is not for the first time though that Twitter has been caught off guard with bot attack. During the US presidential elections, bots were excessively used to share pro-Donald Trump-related content. In response to the issue, Twitter has so far only pointed towards its policies that prohibit the posting of automated tweets to trend a topic. "Twitter also has rules against the creation of multiple accounts to share redundant information. But those policies don't seem to have stopped the outpour of bot activity underway following the Macron campaign hack," the report noted.


Published Date: May 08, 2017 09:24 am | Updated Date: May 08, 2017 09:24 am