How does Anonymous attack Russia? Deactivation and hacking of websites
The online hacking activist, or “hacktivist,” group Anonymous, whose adherents often disguise their identities with Guy Fawkes masks, claims responsibility for disruptions to Russian and Belarusian-backed websites.
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The murky online group known as Anonymous appears to be wading into the Ukraine-Russia conflict by declaring it is at cyber warfare against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, a Twitter message from an account named “Anonymous” – with 7.4 million followers and nearly 190,000 Tweets – summoned hackers from around the world to target Russia.
A February 24 post from the account said the loosely connected global group was preparing for action against the country – “and we will be retweeting their efforts,” he said.
In the days that followed, posts from the account claimed the deactivation of websites belonging to the Russian oil giant Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled news agency RT and numerous Russian and Belarusian government agencies, including the official Kremlin website.
Later posts took credit for disrupting Russian internet service providers, leaking documents and emails from Belarusian arms maker Tetraedr, and cutting off the gas supply provided by the Russian telecommunications service TVingo Telecom.
The account holder summed up the group’s intentions in a Twitter post last week, which stated, “Anonymous has operations underway to keep the government website .ru offline and to relay information to the Russian people so that “He can be freed from Putin’s state censorship machine. We also have operations underway to keep Ukrainians in line as best we can.”
“Russia may be using bombs to drop innocents, but Anonymous is using lasers to kill Russian government websites,” reads a February 26 article.
No official account
Despite the account’s large following, the person – or people – behind the “Anonymous” Twitter account denied that it was the group’s official account, stating in a post: “We are a resistance movement decentralized. There is no official #Anonymous account.”
It is one of several Twitter accounts that claim to operate under the umbrella of Anonymous’ affiliated social media accounts, although it appears to be one of the larger ones.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate the group’s claims, as anonymity is a key principle of the collective.
A review of a website that checks for server outages confirmed that many of the websites the group claimed to have taken down are currently – or have recently been – deactivated.
An article on RT published on February 28 confirmed that its own website, as well as that of the Kremlin, had in fact been taken down by Anonymous last Friday. The article also said the group had targeted other Russian and Belarusian media on Monday, replacing their main pages with the message “Stop the war”.
Drawing the ire of online hackers is another example of how global players – from NATO powers and international corporations to ordinary consumers – are using their influence, big or small, to protest the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.
Empty spaces in the shelves of a vodka section of a Pennsylvania liquor store after Russian labels were removed.
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Russia is already believed to be engaging in its own version of cyber warfare with Ukraine. Last week, Destructive “data wipe” software has hit Ukrainian government agencies and financial institutions, according to Reuters. The news agency said Russia denied any involvement.
Last week, several Ukrainian government websites were shut down following denial of service or “DDoS” attacks, Reuters reported. Ukraine has been under digital attack since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, he said.
A post from the “Anonymous” Twitter account last week reiterated that the group is not at war with Russia as a whole, or its people.
The identities of those behind Anonymous are largely unknown. A message pinned to the ‘Anonymous’ Twitter account says they are “working class people seeking a better future for humanity…who agree on a few basic principles: freedom of information, freedom of expression, corporate and government accountability, privacy and anonymity for individuals.”
Anonymous has targeted other prominent entities in the past, including the governments of the United States and China, the Church of Scientology and the Islamic State group, while expressing support for uprisings such as the Arab Spring. and Occupy Wall Street.