An anti-Hillary Clinton online video game was supposedly created by Russians and released weeks prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The game, called Hilltendo, is speculated to be one of the ways Russia tried to intervene with the election though it may just be a simple yet ill-timed case of Russian trolls making fun of American leaders.
The anti-Clinton video game was unearthed by CNN, which reports that the “silly, Flash-based game” possibly tried to influence American voters. Russians are accused of interfering with the election by swaying voters to Donald Trump through a disinformation campaign. Trump has refuted accusations that he or his camp colluded with the Russians.
Aside from its obvious aversion to Clinton, Hilltendo apparently allowed the Russians to track down its users and target them with disinformation campaigns.
According to website programmers and cybersecurity experts, Hilltendo used Facebook and Google tracking software, which allows its website to identify the people who played the game. It also tracked the social media behavior of its users, supposedly allowing the Russians to target these individuals with advertisements, which in turn directs them to campaigns disparaging Clinton.
The anti-Clinton game was created by a Russian software developer and has a domain name registered to a person living in St. Petersburg, according to The Hill. Incidentally, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), described as a Russian “troll farm,” is also based in St. Petersburg.
BREAKING: Russian internet trolls created an anti-Hillary Clinton video game called "Hilltendo" and tried to make it go viral in the weeks before the 2016 US presidential election.
RT to spread awareness! pic.twitter.com/tFh9HFIobZ
— Travis Allen ???? (@TravisAllen02) March 8, 2018
Hilltendo features an animated version of Hillary Clinton, which is controlled by the player. The objective in the first level is to “help Hillary delete as many classified emails as possible before she is caught.” Video game Clinton dons the politician’s iconic red jacket and rides a nuclear missile. The player manoeuvres Clinton to “delete” the files while evading FBI agents on the road and in helicopters.
The objective in level two of the game is for Clinton to get as much money from Arab states. Money is dropped from flags of Arab nations displayed at the top of the screen. The player moves the animated Clinton to catch money in the basket the character is holding.
In the last level, the player is tasked to help Clinton “throw the Constitution as far as possible.” The level features cartoon versions of former U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Russians released an anti-Clinton video game called "Hilltendo" weeks before the 2016 US presidential election. It may look silly on the surface, but a CNN investigation finds it may indicate an intent to track users and target them with ads https://t.co/e1T29n4yOz pic.twitter.com/nBw16TdNpT
— CNN (@CNN) March 8, 2018
An expert contacted by CNN determined that around May 2016, a certain Internet Protocol or IP address, which previously had 17 websites not related to the Russians, was dedicated to one client. Since the move, the IP address contained the websites Hilltendo.com, PlayWithHillary.com, and BlackFist.pro. The last website was determined to have links to the IRA.
PlayWithHillary.com’s registration information is public, leading the cybersecurity experts to determine Aleksandr Skripnikov of St. Petersburg as the possible owner of the website. The website for Hilltendo, meanwhile, used a corporate proxy to hide the identity of the person who registered it. However, both websites were registered on the same day using the same web hosting provider and had the same domain names and IP address. This likely means the two websites critical of Clinton were registered by the same person.