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Photo: Lisa Forster/picture alliance via Getty Images

Researchers have used "allforusa@yahoo.com," a single email address listed in one of special prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments, as a key to trace new details of the inner workings of social media disinformation campaigns.

Why it matters: The "allforusa" account was a real email address that had been abandoned by its creator and then compromised and reused, a tactic that allows hackers to evade detection and legitimize deceptive activity — in this case, including thousands of comments posted on the FCC's site about net neutrality rules.

The report from the cyberintelligence firm GroupSense, released Monday, follows a trail of password-based clues connecting the "allforusa" account to 9.5 million other email addresses and related social media accounts, many used to distribute inflammatory content and inauthentic messages, including 40,041 postings on the FCC site.

"Allforusa" wound up in the Mueller indictment after the Russian-intelligence-backed Internet Research Agency likely purchased access to a group of hijacked accounts, according to the GroupSense report. Mueller linked the email address with fraudulent Paypal accounts that the IRA used to pay for pro-Trump, anti-Clinton ads during the 2016 election.

What they're saying:

Compromised email accounts are being used to influence public opinion on important topics... The availability and sheer volume of these compromised accounts enables threat actors to conduct campaigns under the guise of actual citizens.
— GroupSense's report

Allegations have previously come from both sides of the net neutrality debate that people are gaming the system, such as using other people’s identities to post comments, including those of people who have died, per the WSJ.

  • This isn’t entirely a new game. The WSJ found there have been allegations of falsified or fraudulent postings related to comments with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.