DHS warns of Russian efforts to divide America over pineapple pizza — kind of

It’s a cheesy, playful warning — but it is seeking to deliver a critical message. Posted on-line Wednesday via the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the tongue-in-cheek caution objectives to help Americans become aware of and shield in opposition to propaganda campaigns from Russia and different overseas adversaries.

After all, the DHS warning says, Russian sellers are capable of simultaneously insisting on line that “Being anti-pineapple is un-American!” even as additionally pushing out posts saying “Millennials are ruining pizza!”

“Foreign influencers are continuously looking for opportunities to inflame warm button problems within the United States,” the new DHS warning says. “They don’t try this to win arguments; they need to peer us divided.”

According to the caution, overseas interference usually follows positive patterns.

First, overseas marketers pick out a divisive problem to target — though probably not a problem as silly as whether pineapple is the correct pizza topping.

“No count number the way you slice it, Americans disagree on the fruit topping,” the DHS document notes with a pun.

After targeting a debatable problem, foreign agents then ensure social media bills are in place, frequently reusing or renaming money owed “to pollute those debates with awful information and make our positions greater intense with the aid of choosing fights, or ‘trolling’ human beings on line,” consistent with the DHS warning.

The “maximum severe version of arguments on each side of a difficulty” regularly then come to be framed “as legitimate statistics sources,” pushing them “into the mainstream” and carrying them to large audiences, the DHS warning says.

The very last step of foreign interference is for marketers to take what started in cyberspace and turn it into some thing “very actual, with Americans shouting down Americans because of overseas interference,” DHS warns.

“In the past, Kremlin marketers have prepared or funded protests to similarly stoke divisions among Americans. They create event pages and ask fans to come out,” in step with DHS.

DHS provided this situation: If the “battle on pineapple” become a extra serious trouble, an overseas agent would possibly inform unwitting followers to “JOIN YOUR FELLOW PIZZA LOVERS AT THE TOWN CENTER TO MARCH FOR PINEAPPLE!”

Nevertheless, in its caution on Wednesday, DHS made clear — in jest — that: “To date, we don’t have any evidence of Russia (or any kingdom) actively sporting out statistics operations against pizza toppings.”

Russia’s huge-ranging interference in the 2016 presidential marketing campaign, from stealing and liberating lots of Democratic National Committee emails to waging disinformation campaigns on line, has U.S. Authorities bracing for what may want to take place inside the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin now not best desires to “weaken” America inside the years beforehand, but he additionally wants to hold his grip on energy, in line with Suzanne Spaulding, a former senior authentic at DHS who helped lead U.S. Efforts to mitigate Russian cyber operations.

“He doesn’t want [Russian citizens] to see … The US and liberal democracy as some thing they must lengthy for. So what he desires to paint to them is democracy in chaos,” Spaulding stated Friday at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

And with regards to cyber-operations in opposition to foreign adversaries, Russia “is training jiu-jitsu,” seeking to use the First Amendment and American unfastened speech “in opposition to us,” Spaulding stated.

A DHS spokeswoman did no longer immediately reply to a request seeking remark for this newsletter.


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