The hacktivist collective Anonymous has thrown its hat in the ring and declared that the group is now at cyber war with both the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.
After Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, a Twitter user with the handle “Anonymous” reached out to their 7.4m followers to encourage hackers from around the world to begin targeting Russia. They also revealed that members of the infamous hacking group would be joining forces to take collective action against the country and its businesses.
In the days that followed, the account published a series of posts in which it claimed responsibility for disabling various Russian websites including those belonging to the Russian oil giant Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian news agency RT and various government agencies including the Kremlin's official site according to a report from CNBC.
Other posts followed which took credit for disrupting Russian ISPs, leaking data and emails from the Belarusian weapons manufacturer Tetraedr and shutting down a gas supply provided by the Russian mobile carrier Tvingo Telecom.
Anonymous goes to war
Although the popular Anonymous Twitter account is by no means the official mouthpiece of the hacktivist collective, it did lay out the group's plans regarding Russia in a recent tweet, which read:
“Anonymous has ongoing operations to keep .ru government website offline, and to push information to the Russian people so they can be free of Putin’s state censorship machine. We also have ongoing operations to keep the Ukrainian people online as best we can.”
While backing up the group's claims is difficult due to its decentralized nature, Downdetector did show that many of the websites Anonymous claimed to have disrupted were knocked offline. Russian news outlet RT did confirm in an article that its website as well as the Kremlin's were taken offline in a recent article.
Anonymous may have the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin in its sights but the unofficial Twitter account clarified last week that the group itself is not at war with Russia as a whole or the country's citizens. The group will likely continue to disrupt the online infrastructure of the Russian government and the country's businesses until a ceasefire is declared, so expect to see Anonymous claiming responsibility for even more cyberattacks as the conflict continues.
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.