The mysterious online group known as Anonymous has decided to stand up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The hacker group announced that it was participating in a cyberwar campaign against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
Using both Twitter and YouTube, the group urged followers (7.6 million via Twitter and 28,000 subscribers on YouTube) to launch cyber attacks against state websites.
The group claims to have disabled sites including the state-controlled Russian news agency, the Kremlin’s official website, and Russian internet service providers.
The group said on Twitter: “We as activists will not stand idly by while Russian forces kill innocent people trying to defend their homeland.”
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a tweet from an account called Anonymous urged hackers around the world to target Russia.
A tweet from the account on February 24 stated that the global, unconnected group was preparing to take action against the Russian state.
In the days that followed, the account’s tweets claimed responsibility for disrupting the websites of Russian oil giant Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian News Agency, and several Russian and Belarusian government agencies, including the Kremlin’s official website.
The tweets credited the group with disrupting Russian ISPs and leaking documents and emails from Belarusian arms manufacturer Tetrader shutting down gas supplies provided by Russian telecom service Tfingo Telecom.
Anonymous is involved in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia
The account summarized the group’s intentions in a tweet that said: Anonymous has operations in place to keep government .ru websites offline and to send information to the Russian people so they can break free from Putin’s state censorship machine. We also have ongoing operations to keep the Ukrainian people online as best we can.
Another tweet said: Russia may be using bombs to shoot down innocent people, but Anonymous is using lasers to kill Russian government websites.
Despite the many followers of the account, the person or people behind the Anonymous account on Twitter denied that it was the official account of the group. He said in a blog post: We are a decentralized resistance movement. There is no official Anonymous account.
This account is one of several that operate under a larger umbrella of the group’s social media accounts. But proving the group’s claims is difficult, if not impossible, because anonymity is a fundamental principle of the group.
A website that checks for outage confirmed that many of the sites the group said it targeted were down.
An article on RT also confirmed that its website, as well as the Kremlin’s, had been taken down by Anonymous. The article also stated that the group targeted other Russian and Belarusian media, replacing their homepages with the message “Stop the war.”
A tweet via the Anonymous account made it clear that the group is not at war with Russia as a whole or with its people.
It is not known who is behind Anonymous. A message pinned to the group’s account states that they are working-class people striving for a better future for humanity who agree on some basic principles: freedom of information, freedom of expression, accountability of businesses and governments, and privacy and anonymity for ordinary citizens.
Anonymous has targeted other notable entities in the past, including the governments of the United States and China. While she has expressed support for uprisings such as the Arab Spring and the Occupation of Wall Street