Verizon customers spammed with phony texts that link to Russian propaganda

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Verizon customers have been receiving suspicious spam texts in recent days that appear to be coming from their own phone numbers, USA Today reported Tuesday.

Kristofer Goldsmith, the CEO of private intelligence firm Sparverius, tweeted Tuesday that the texts, which purport to offer customers a free gift, contained "disguised link[s]" to "the live feed of Russian propaganda website '1TV.'" Several posts on Reddit and on a Verizon forum confirm that the link does lead to 1TV.

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Last week, President Biden warned Americans to be aware that Russia "could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States."

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The messages read, "Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here's a little gift for you:" followed by the link.

One Verizon customer posted in the Verizon forum that, with past junk texts, they would simply report them as spam, "but this time it's from MY OWN number. I don't want to accidentally report myself."

The Russian state has a 51 percent controlling stake in 1TV, according to Interfax.

On March 14, 1TV editor Marina Ovsyannikova interrupted a broadcast by standing behind the anchor's desk with a sign that read "NO WAR. Stop the war. Don't believe propaganda. They are lying to you here," in a mixture of English and Russian, Al Jazeera reported.

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