International hacking collective Anonymous claimed responsibility Saturday for a number of Russian website outages, including that of Russia’s Ministry of Defense and the Kremlin.
“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,” @YourAnonNews tweeted. “We also have ongoing operations to keep the Ukrainian people online as best we can.”
On Friday, several accounts claiming affiliation with Anonymous shared a video declaring a cyberwar against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the account @YourAnonOne, the reported cyberattacks began as Russian forces invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 24, the group announced that it had taken down the state-controlled organization RT News, the Russian state-controlled television network. RT itself confirmed that a denial-of-service (DDos) attack had slowed or taken offline several state websites “for extended periods throughout the day,” but did not corroborate Anonymous’ claims of responsibility.
The Kremlin (via state media) denied that Anonymous was behind the outages, reported CNN.
However, the outages continued into Saturday as Russia’s invasion into Ukraine reached its third day. Anonymous also declared that it was behind the hacking of Russian state TV channels. Social media users have since uploaded videos showing images of Ukraine’s flag and other symbols while Ukrainian music plays in the background.
Anonymous is not the only party seeking to combat Russia in cyberspace. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry called on hackers Thursday to volunteer for “defensive and offensive cyber units,” Reuters reported. The request came after a flurry of cyberattacks hit Ukrainian banks last week, which US and UK security experts blamed on Russia. Russia has denied responsibility.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government is asking for tech and social media platforms to help curb misinformation being spread by the Russian government.
Earlier today, YouTube announced that it would prevent Russian state media channels from earning ad revenue and will limit access to RT in Ukraine, among other measures. Twitter stated that it would temporarily block all ads in Ukraine and Russia “to ensure critical public safety information is elevated and ads don’t detract from it.” Meta’s head of security policy announced Friday that Facebook is “prohibiting Russian state media from running ads or monetizing on our platform anywhere in the world.”