US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Russia, China and Iran of spreading "disinformation" about COVID-19 and making coordinated efforts to "slow down" American attempts to curb the rapidly expanding coronavirus pandemic.
Mike Pompeo spoke at the White House on Friday of the disinformation campaigns as "fairly diffuse" and urged the Americans to ensure that they get their information from a reliable source, not from a "bad actor" who tries to create and create information flow that you know is wrong.
"I wanted to talk about the disinformation people see on Twitter and around the world, some of which is from the government, others from others," he told reporters.
He identified three countries for these "disinformation campaigns".
"Unfortunately, it's pretty much mitigated, but we've certainly seen it come from places like China, Russia, and Iran, where coordinated efforts are being made to do what America does and our activities to do all the things that President (Donald) Trump has taken action to minimize movement here, "said Mike Pompeo.
"I was just asking everyone to see information that once suggested that this virus came from the US Army. This information about the closures that are taking place should ensure that every American, in fact people around the world they turn to for information is a reliable source and not a bad actor trying to create and flow information that he knows is wrong, "he added.
The Foreign Minister admitted that combating the rapidly expanding pandemic was a "tough fight".
As of Friday evening, a total of 230 people in the United States had died from the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic. The number of confirmed cases has risen to over 18,000, an increase of over 10,000 in less than 50 hours. Coronavirus cases have been reported in all 50 states in the United States and in the District of Columbia as well as in Puerto Rico.
The number of deaths from the virus has increased to 11,397 worldwide, with more than 275,427 cases reported in over 160 countries and areas.
"The American people are tougher. Our diplomatic teams are working 24 hours a day to ensure security at home and abroad, and we are once again showing the global leadership that America has always delivered. It was great to see countries change around the world have united behind what President Trump and his team are doing, "said Mike Pompeo.
His statement came to the public after Dick Durbin and Jeff Merkley led a group of eight Democratic senators who urged the State Department to take action against foreign actors who "arm disinformation" to undermine the efforts of the United States and its global partners efforts to inform address the coronavirus pandemic.
Recent EU reports of Russian efforts to disinformation about COVID-19 echo warnings from Lea Gabrielle, the special representative of the State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC), to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sow that Russia is behind "raves about Online "Stuck, False Personas" trying to spread misinformation about COVID-19 on social media websites, wrote the senators.
According to the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, these "malicious activities" demonstrate how false stories about COVID-19 are "truly global and spread faster than the virus itself."
"After the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, cybercriminals are loading malicious software in multiple languages onto tracking cards, government reports, and health data sheets," they write.
A recent study by Check Point, an Israel-based cyber security group, found that Chinese hackers like Vicious Panda are an "advanced ongoing threat" in this area and are likely to be funded by the Chinese government, the senators said.
"Despite efforts by companies like WhatsApp to work with governments and other partners to curb the dissemination of incorrect information on their social media platforms, disinformation is continuing to spread in countries like Nigeria, Pakistan and Brazil," they said.
In their letter to Mike Pompeo, the senators also urged US officials not to use derogatory and inaccurate language that COVID-19 attributes to a particular region or country.
"This global challenge requires international leadership for which the United States is uniquely positioned and which the GEC has established specifically for coordination.
"Similarly, US officials should not use derogatory and inaccurate language that COVID-19 attributes to a particular region or country, including" Wuhan virus "or" foreign virus ". This terminology plays directly against malicious actors who want to undermine in the hands of international efforts to coordinate the fight against the virus, "wrote the senators.