Vietnam has been accused of attempting to hack U.S. officials and the news network CNN by using fake accounts on social media platform X, according to a report by cybersecurity firm FireEye.
The report accused the government of Vietnam of using so-called “false-flag” accounts—made to look like they were from legitimate U.S.-based individuals—to increase their chances of gaining access to news stories, U.S. diplomatic documents, and various personal information.
This includes attempts to gain access to the emails of U.S. ambassadors, government officials, and even CNN reporters. The news network said that the attacks went on for more than a year between 2018 and 2019.
The hackers published posts under false identities to spread disinformation to social media users, and FireEye said that the hackers got access to a significant number of the news network’s stories, web traffic data, and various journalistic resources.
Although FireEye did not directly accuse the Vietnamese government of orchestrating the attack, they did note that the online activity was “consistent” with previous attacks linked to state-sponsored actors from the country. The hackers have since left the accounts inactive after being detected by FireEye.