Seven ways Anonymous is trying to undermine Putin from ‘government website hacks to streaming war footage on Russian TV’

HACKING group Anonymous has been taking shots at Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine.

The group has claimed credit for multiple hacking attacks on Russian government databases including state TV channels to show pro-Ukraine content.

The decentralized hacker group, Anonymous has claimed ownership of multiple attacks against Russian government agenciesCredit: Anonymous

The collective declared a 'cyber war' against the nation in a tweet back in February

The collective declared a ‘cyber war’ against the nation in a tweet back in FebruaryCredit: AFP

“The Anonymous collective is officially in a cyber war against the Russian government,” read a tweet claiming to belong to the mysterious group back in February.

Since then, the group has claimed credit for multiple hacking attacks on Russian government databases including state TV channels to show pro-Ukraine content.

It’s hard to definitely determine if the group is actually responsible for these attacks due to their informal nature. 

James Collier, a consultant at cybersecurity firm Mandiant said: “It can be difficult to directly tie this activity to Anonymous, as targeted entities will likely be reluctant to public related technical data.

“However, the Anonymous collective has a track record of conducting this sort of activity and it is very much in line with their capabilities.

CENTRAL BANK HACK

Just recently the group claimed involvement in hacking the central bank of Russia, threatening to release files and secret agreements.

“JUST IN: The #Anonymous collective has hacked the Central Bank of Russia. More than 35.000 files will be released within 48 hours with secret agreements. #OpRussia,” the hackers tweeted but failed to provide more detail about the attack.

The alleged hacking came as highly regarded central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina reportedly sought to resign after Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine.

Nabiullina’s request was denied by Putin, who instead asked her to stay put, NDTV reported citing four people with knowledge of the discussions.

Now, Nabiullina is left to manage the fallout from a war that’s quickly undone much of what’s she’s accomplished in the nine years since she took office.

Follow our Ukraine Russia invasion live blog for the very latest news and updates…

In a follow-up tweet, the hackers claimed they’d be “targeting” companies that continue to operate in Russia.

“JUST IN: #Anonymous is targeting companies that continue to operate in Russia,” they added.

The direct message came after Anonymous warned Western companies that continued to operate in Russia should pull out or risk facing cyberattacks.

Earlier in March, the group siphoned control of Russian state television and Russian streaming services and broadcasted the carnal footage of battlefields in Ukraine. 

Anonymous’s footage ended with a written message that attributed the fault of the war to Russia’s totalitarian government, not ordinary Russian citizens. 

A new law passed by the Russian parliament that makes publishing “fake news” punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

News organizations and social media companies have suspended operations in Russia in response to the tamping of free speech.

This is the type of action that would draw the ire of Anonymous’ “leftist-libertarian” disciples.

In a Twitter thread explaining its recent actions against Russia, Anonymous wrote “We abhor violence. We are anti-war. We are against police brutality.  We have raised our fists in the air to stand against aggressor’s time and time again. We would never choose to hurt anyone physically. Understand this and know this if any government says otherwise.”

The tweet came from an unverified account with nearly 8million followers. The account’s bio includes the tag #HackThePlanet.

“We can change the world for the better. That has always been the idea. Ideas are bulletproof,” the thread concluded.

GOVERNMENT WEBSITES HACKED

Six Russian Government websites were taken down in February, according to Ukraine’s state telecommunications agency.

The web pages failed to load with the message: “This site can’t be reached. Government.ru took too long to respond.”

Webpages for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Security Service, and Cabinet of Ministers are included in the outages.

Anonymous tweeted it was “at war with Russia” and to “stay tuned”.

The organization tweeted on Saturday: “Anonymous has ongoing operations to keep .ru government websites 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.”

Russian state media has denied the outages are linked to Anonymous.

The websites appear to have had interrupted connectivity since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

DATABASE LEAK

In another attack, Anonymous targeted Roskomnadzor, the Russian agency responsible for monitoring and censorship of Russian media.

Anonymous released the files on their Substack titled “Distributed Email of Secrets.”

“Roskomnadzor has given instructions about what can be said and ordered media outlets to delete stories that call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an Invasion,” the post reads.

“In response to Facebook’s fact-checking Russia’s statements about the war, Roskomnadzor began restricting access to Facebook before later blocking it.”

Anonymous said they urgently released the data as they anticipated that Russia may have cut itself off from the internet.

Anonymous claimed to have hacked Russian state media with pro-Ukrainian messages

Anonymous claimed to have hacked Russian state media with pro-Ukrainian messagesCredit: Twitter

The group has also sent messages to Russian civilians, explaining they are being 'lied' to by Russian media

The group has also sent messages to Russian civilians, explaining they are being ‘lied’ to by Russian mediaCredit: AFP

“The source, a part of Anonymous, urgently felt the Russian people should have access to information about their government,” the Anonymous post said.

The files and databases stolen from the network were said to include 820 gigabytes of emails and attachments, with some as recent as March 5, 2022.

“#Anonymous ALWAYS delivers. Expect us,” the group tweeted.

SPACE AGENCY SHUT DOWN

The group claimed to have shut down Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.

The hacking team has said that Russian officials have “no more control over their spy satellites.”

However, the Director-General of Roscosmos, Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin, denied the claim and called the group “petty swindlers.”

In a social media statement, he said: “The information of these scammers and petty swindlers is not true. All our space activity control centers are operating normally.”

Rogozin has previously stated that control of the Russian space industry, orbital group and the Russian International Space Station segment is protected from cybercriminals.

It came days after Anonymous claimed it had successfully breached over 300 Russian websites and offered troops over $53,000 to give up their tanks.

The offer to buy tanks from Russian soldiers has emerged after reports that Russia refused to open its stock market.

It initially said that they would delay opening it for a few hours, before eventually stating that it would remain closed all day.

The collective claimed to have amassed more than RUB 1billion ($10.3million) and is offering tank crews RUB 5million ($51,000) for each surrendered tank, according to Ukrainian media.

Russian troops have been advised by Anonymous to surrender with a white flag and use the password “million” to show that they accept the collective’s terms.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has also reportedly said that it will guarantee amnesty to surrendering forces.

Anonymous is allegedly telling Russian soldiers: “Russian soldiers, everyone who wants to live with their families, children, and not die, the Anonymous global community has collected RUB 1,225,043 in bitcoin to help you.”

PUTIN’S SUPERYACHT

Putin’s £73million superyacht was renamed “FCKPTN” with its destination changed to “Hell” after Anonymous claimed to have targeted his assets.

The group broke into the ship’s maritime data and made it appear as if it had crashed into Snake Island in Ukraine.

The vigilante group then renamed the boat’s destination to “anonymous” and “anonleaks” before settling with “hell” or “FCKPTN”.

The ship was soon reverted back to its original name, Graceful.

An Anonymous splinter group led the hack by breaking into the Automatic Identification System used to track ship locations.

They then posted on a German Twitter account they wanted to put the yacht in the scope of sanction packages as well as “put a little smile on some faces for a short period in these dark times,” according to tweets from a Bloomberg journalist.

On the website, My Ship Tracking, the ship’s call sign was changed to FCKPTN and another site had it listed as ANONYMO.

HACKED PRINTERS AND CAMERAS

On March 21 it was reported the group had allegedly hacked unsecured printers across Russia, proceeding to mass print information about the war to circumvent the Kremlin’s state propaganda. 

Over 160 devices were targeted with 40,000 copies printed with anti-war messages written in Russian.

The copies also contained information on how civilians can bypass censorship in the country by using the Tor browser.

“We are #Anonymous. We have been printing anti-propoganda and tor installation instructions to printers all over #Russia for 2 hours, and printed 100,000+ copies so far. 15 people working on this op as we speak,” read a tweet from an unverified account.

The materials included messages telling Russian citizens about the “lies” that Putin and state media has been saying about the invasion.

“Citizens of Russia, act now to stop terrorist[s]. Putin killing over thousands in Ukraine,” read the messages. The people of Russia should find horror in Putin’s actions.”

Over 400 Russian cameras were also hacked by the group.

“We compiled about 100 on this website. This is anti-propaganda to open the eyes of Russian civilians. Also potential recon.”

A live feed of the hacked cameras was shared on the website behindenemylines.live and were grouped into categories based on their location – business, restaurants, offices, schools, etc.

The group overlaid text describing the invasion reading: “Putin is killing children, 352 Ukrainian civilians dead. Russians liked to 200RF.com

UKRAINE LATEST

A US defense official told Reuters news agency on Wednesday that Russia’s combat power in Ukraine has declined below 90 percent of its pre-invasion levels for the first time since the war began.

The estimation suggests heavy losses shouldered by Russia.

Estimates put Russian losses at a whopping 15,600 men.

While the United Nations says it has recorded 953 civilian deaths and 1,557 injuries among Ukrainians – but the actual figure is expected to be much higher.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had his superyacht hacked, supposedly by the group

Russian President Vladimir Putin had his superyacht hacked, supposedly by the groupCredit: AFP

A group of squatters sits on the edge of a balcony next to a banner reading 'This property has been liberated' in London

A group of squatters sits on the edge of a balcony next to a banner reading ‘This property has been liberated’ in LondonCredit: EPA

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