Chinese-affiliated threat actors [5] [8], including the group Storm-1376 [8], have been using social media and AI-generated content to influence geopolitics and sow discord globally, according to the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center (MTAC) [8].


Storm-1376 [1] [2] [6] [7] [8], also known as Spamouflage [7], has been amplifying controversial domestic issues and criticizing the US administration through AI-generated content on social media platforms [8]. They have conducted influence operations on social media [8], spreading conspiratorial narratives about events like the Hawaii wildfires and the Kentucky train derailment [8]. In addition, Storm-1376 has targeted countries in East Asia [8], using AI-generated memes and images to criticize the Japanese government [8]. During the Taiwanese presidential election in January 2024 [5] [8], Storm-1376 increased its use of AI operations to promote misleading AI-generated audio clips [7], memes [1] [2] [3] [6] [7] [8], and other content [7] [8]. They have also utilized AI-generated people in videos, including AI-generated news anchors created with ByteDance’s CapCut tool [8], in campaigns featuring Taiwanese officials [8]. Microsoft’s MTAC unit uncovered two China-backed disinformation campaigns targeting US and international voters via social media [2], focusing on state-backed cyberattacks [2]. The first campaign uses fake social media accounts to spread disinformation on divisive US domestic issues [2]. The second campaign [2], run by threat actor Storm-1376 [2], uses AI-generated content to influence foreign elections [1] [2] [4] [6], such as Taiwan’s presidential election [2] [3] [5] [6] [7] [8]. China is planning to disrupt elections in the US [3], South Korea [3], and India using artificial intelligence-generated content [3], following a trial run during the Taiwan presidential election [3]. Microsoft predicts that Chinese state-backed cyber groups [3], along with North Korea [3], will target high-profile elections in 2024 [3]. China is expected to create and distribute AI-generated content through social media to influence these elections [3]. The impact of AI-made content is currently low [3], but China’s experimentation in this area is increasing [3]. Despite the sophistication of these operations [4], there is little evidence that they have successfully changed public opinion [4]. Microsoft warns that China’s increasing experimentation with AI-generated content may prove effective in the future [6]. China is using AI tools to influence global elections [1], with a focus on disrupting elections in the United States and Taiwan [1]. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has warned of a rise in election interference efforts by China as part of broader efforts to undermine US global standing and influence US voters [1].


The use of AI-generated content by Chinese-affiliated threat actors poses a significant challenge to global cybersecurity and election integrity. While the impact of these operations is currently limited, the potential for future effectiveness is a cause for concern. Mitigating these threats will require increased vigilance and collaboration among international cybersecurity agencies. As China continues to experiment with AI tools for influencing elections, the need for robust cybersecurity measures and countermeasures becomes increasingly urgent.