Dubbed 'Invisible Ink,' Alethea reports on Russia's increased sophistication in disinformation campaigns, and the network itself signals a shift in Russia's information operations objectives


Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA – March 27, 2024 – Alethea today released a report that demonstrates Doppelganger, a persistent Russian influence campaign first publicly exposed in 2022 and active primarily on X which promotes narratives intended to undermine support for Ukraine among the U.S. and its allies, is likely being leveraged by the Russian intelligence service, commonly referred to as the GRU. Based on Alethea’s analysis, the Kremlin appears to have shifted its strategy from sowing division in target democracies to a sole focus on undermining support for Ukraine in global democracies. The narratives pushed by the network are protectionist and isolationist, helping to further Russia’s goal of a weaker Ukraine with fewer resources. Currently, that means that Russian influence efforts are more likely to target conservative voters and support candidates that oppose military aid funding in Ukraine, including in the United States and Germany. 

“The network demonstrates an evolution of Russian objectives with their information operations,” said Alethea Founder and CEO Lisa Kaplan. “Where the Russians previously sought to sow chaos, now they appear to be singularly focused on influencing democracies to elect candidates that do not support sending aid to Ukraine – which in turn supports isolationist, protectionist candidates and policies. This long-term strategy, if effective, would result in reduced support for Ukraine globally. Ultimately, democracies and elections free from foreign influence would be Russia’s casualty.” 

The network appears to be exploiting the design in the X (formerly Twitter) API, and has created a new tactic, dubbed “Invisible Ink” by Alethea, in order to amplify the content. The network evades detection by researchers, security firms, and its targets by copying and pasting specific tweet URLs in lieu of retweeting or posting, requiring threat intelligence teams to know the exact tweet URL in order to ID amplification accounts. We assess the network’s goal is to avoid detection of researchers leveraging the X API and thus, Alethea named the tactic “Invisible Ink” because the posts are only likely to be found by investigators who know precisely which posts to look for, as if they are written with invisible ink. 

C. Shawn Eib, Alethea’s Head of Investigations, stated, “We are now seeing Russia and GRU shift their focus to a narrower interest in narratives that support their military interests in both information and ground warfare, specifically attempting to reduce support for Ukraine among Western democracies. In addition to behaviors previously seen with the operation dubbed Doppelgänger, they are employing newer tactics, dubbed ‘Invisible Ink’ by Alethea, including using the X platform in novel ways which hamper research efforts, supported by large scale automated amplification systems.”

To access the full report please visit Alethea’s website.

About Alethea

Alethea is a technology company helping the Fortune 500, private companies, and nonprofits protect themselves and leaders from harms stemming from disinformation. Leveraging its multi-channel machine learning platform, Artemis, Alethea detects disinformation narratives across the internet, enabling customers to proactively defend against this pervasive threat. With Artemis-powered early detection, Alethea customers can protect their reputations, key assets, physical safety and market value. The company was founded in 2019 and is woman-owned. Learn more at www.alethea.com.


Contact: Asa Berolzheimer

Email: asa@alethea.com

Phone: (202) 209-4417