Back in 2015, five United States military wives received alarming threats that appeared to come from ISIS, but AP researchers now say that the messages actually came from Russia.
One Facebook message read: “Dear Angela! Bloody Valentine’s Day! We know everything about you, your husband and children. We’re much closer than you can even imagine.”
The message senders hid under the guise of Jihadist militants and threatened to kill them.
The AP found evidence that these women were not targeted by Jihadists but by the Russian hacking group that exposed former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal emails.
One of the women who received a death threat from this group, Angela Ricketts, told AP, “Never in a million years did I think that it was the Russians” and called the AP’s findings, “mind blowing.”
“It feels so hilarious and insidious at the same time” she added.
The wife of a Marine, Liz Snell, was at her husband’s retirement party when the Twitter account of her charity, Military Spouses of Strength, had been hacked. According to her, it started broadcasting public threats not only to her, but other military spouses and even then-first lady Michelle Obama.
Snell flew home from the ceremony, took her children and checked into a Comfort Inn for two nights in fear of their safety.
CyberCaliphate, the group that sent the messages, have been associated with a hacking group from Russia known as APT28.
This is an example of the difficulty of identifying hacking groups and prematurely assigning blame without taking motive or potential deception into consideration.