a fake website impersonates the French army

a fake website impersonates the French army

In France, the Ministry of the Armed Forces was confronted this Friday March 28 with the appearance of a false website calling on the French to sign up to fight in Ukraine. The site was no longer accessible by late morning. The ministry denounces the usurpation of the official website of the French army. This manipulation is the latest episode in a vast disinformation campaign according to which France is preparing to send troops to Ukraine.

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The creation of this fake site was particularly careful. It is a fraudulent copy of the official site “s’engage.fr” which has been transformed into “s’engage-ukraine.fr”. The first page is well reproduced. We see a large photo of soldiers in action in the center and the logo of the Ministry of the Armed Forces faithfully reproduced at the top left, exactly as on the real army website.

Careers, remuneration, job description and mission… The descriptions on this copy are precisely detailed. A sign that the fake site has been well designed, certain elements, such as social networks or the logo of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, link to the real French army recruitment site. A way to further deceive the vigilance of Internet users by mixing the true and the false.

The real French army website dedicated to recruitment does not refer to Ukraine.

However, some mentions are implausible. For example, the fake site announces the enlistment of 200,000 men for Ukraine while the French army only has 130,000 men and women in its ranks. Remember that the Land Operational Force (FOT), that is to say the personnel that can be mobilized for operations, does not exceed 77,000 men. The site in question also invited volunteers to leave their contact details and complete interviews. We do not know if the manœThe work also aimed to collect identities.

Analysis of the website shows that the domain name “ sengage-ukraine.fr » was registered in March 2024 for a period of one year with a company based in Germany. The site is also hosted on an American host.

Analysis of the architecture of the fraudulent website "sengage-ukraine.fr".

The brand of Russia »

This Friday March 28 morning, the ministry sounded the alarm on social networks. He talks about a fake site “ relayed on social networks by malicious accounts “.

Viginum, the French service for combating foreign digital interference, is participating in the “ to shed light on this informational maneuver targeting France », Indicates Sébastien Lecornu’s office. A senior French official told AFP on Friday that this manipulation bore the mark of Russia or pro-Russian actors.

At the end of February, the French president suggested that he did not rule out sending French troops to Ukraine by calling for “ a burst of Europeans » in order to block Russia. Since then, a lot of content or false information targeting France has been circulating on social networks. During March, the Ministry of the Armed Forces denounced the comments relayed by Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russian foreign intelligence, reporting the deployment of “ 2,000 French soldiers in Ukraine » speaking of a “ systematic use of disinformation » from Russia.

On March 20, a video associating the French army with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, considered close to the European extreme right, circulated quietly on the networks. It was a “ false information part of the Russian propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting Azov in France, which began six months ago », Commented a press service of the Ukrainian army at the time. The French authorities are currently denouncing destabilization attempts targeting France, guided, according to them, by Moscow to undermine public support for the Ukrainian cause.