An investigation reveals that the websites and accounts helping spread these hoaxes in the US, the UK, and Canada appear to be linked to the country of Georgia

One hoax claimed three officers and eight citizens had been killed in a suicide bombing in Ottawa. The other, from a different website, claimed an attack by ISIS in the suburb of Kanata had killed 92 people and wounded almost 200 others.

Both hoaxes were posted in private Facebook groups for people in the local area.

An investigation of domain ownership records, of website source code, and of the people who have played a key role in spreading these hoaxes reveals a strong link to people in the country of Georgia.

Their goal is to use the hoaxes to get people to go to websites where they do one of three things: infect the user’s computer with malware, trick people into handing over personal information, or redirect the traffic to online gaming sites in order to earn a commission. (It’s important to note that while people in Georgia are playing a role in this scam, the ringleader(s) may be located elsewhere.)

This is the strange story of how two seemingly random recent hoaxes about communities in Canada can be traced back to the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and to a business that uses frightening hoaxes about ISIS to make money.

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