The Foundation for Freedom of Expression (FLIP) of Colombia publicly denounced that the Ministry of Defense faked a digital attack on official accounts to justify its cyber-patrol policy, within the framework of the massive protests over the national strike in April and May.
“These actions undertaken by the Ministry of Defense and the military forces, in which more than 21,000 hours have been invested, have not had any counterweight or institutional control, and are enlarged amid lies and opacity,” explained the NGO.
The national security institution used videos and social media posts, as well as cyber patrol and online surveillance strategies to fabricate the fake accusation of a cyber attack.
The FLIP investigation indicates that on May 6, the Colombian security forces began to alert about an alleged cyber attack on their social media accounts, which would have been a staging to justify the subsequent surveillance applied by the authorities.
After the simulation, the government of Iván Duque launched a campaign on social media with the hashtag #ColombiaEsMiVerdad. There they warned about supposed false news that attacked the image of the military forces, with which an attempt was made to discredit human rights organizations and denounced cases of repression in the streets.
FLIP points out that the Ministry of Defense hired the company Alotrópico S.A.S., for almost 900 million pesos (about 240,000 dollars), to build the cyber attack. The NGO asked nine entities for information on how the “cyber patrols” are being carried out and indicated its concern about what was received.
It should be remembered that at the time of the accusations, the Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, in an interview with the Spanish media El Mundo, when asked by Spanish journalists about whether there had been foreign interference in social media, said that the cyberattacks they had been carried out from Russia.
The minister also said in an interview with the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that there was information about cyberattacks from Russia. The Russian embassy in Colombia responded this way:
“We completely reject these accusations. These serious accusations against our country, which we consider completely unfounded and without concrete evidence, do not contribute at all to the development of the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Colombia.”