The Anonymous hacker collective began attacking the Russian segment of the internet Friday in connection with the situation in Ukraine, targeting websites of Russian businesses, media, the military and various government agencies.
A hacking group called Killnet claims to have brought down a key website affiliated with Anonymous, as well as the neo-Nazi Ukrainian Right Sector paramilitary group and the office of the president of Ukraine.
Users attempting to access Anonymous’ official website, ‘anonymoushackers.net’ on Tuesday afternoon were met with the message “Sorry, that didn’t work. Please try again or come back later. 500 Error. Internal Server Error.”
Killnet accompanied the gesture with a Russian-language video address, with a shadowy hooded figure against the backdrop of a Russian flag reading out a text.
“Greetings, Russians and friendly union nations. The internet is full of fake information about the hacking of Russian banks, hacks on Russian media servers, and much more. None of this poses any danger to people. This ‘information bomb’ is merely text, and nothing more. Do not fall for fake information on the internet. Have no doubts about your country,” the hackers said.
Blaming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the US and its European allies for the current crisis, the hacking group assured that “very soon this conflict will end, and we will find peace. Do not be afraid, Russia, no one and nothing can threaten you.”
Addressing Anonymous directly, Killnet urged the group to “start restoring your site,” suggesting it “looks very pitiful against in light of your threats against our country.”
Anonymous launched a “cyberwar” on Moscow on Friday, summoning hackers from around the world to target Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. The group has taken credit for DDoS attacks on Russian government and media websites, the military and businesses.
The group’s attacks appear to have been uncoordinated, disorganized, and indiscriminate. In addition to attacks on state media, for example, they targeted an independent St. Petersburg-based newspaper, several business outlets, and regional media which do not pay much attention to federal politics or world affairs.
Anonymous’s hacking campaign began coordination with efforts by Western IT giants and governments, which have moved to censor Russian foreign-language media outlets by blocking websites, shutting down radio and television broadcasts, and taking Russian media social media pages offline.