With the hacking group Anonymous declaring war on the Kremlin for their invasion of Ukraine, it appears that Russian hackers are also taking the fight to the hacktivist group.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a Twitter post from an account named “Anonymous” — with 7.4 million followers and nearly 190,000 Tweets — summoned hackers around the world to target Russia.
A post from the account on February 24 stated the loosely connected global group was gearing up for action against the country — “and we will be retweeting their endeavors,” it said.
In the days thereafter, posts by the account claimed responsibility for disabling websites belonging to the Russian oil giant Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian news agency RT, and numerous Russian and Belarusian government agencies.
This includes the Kremlin’s official site.
However, Killnet is a hacking group that has allegedly brought down a key website related to Anonymous, alongside the neo-Nazi Ukrainian Right Sector paramilitary group and Ukrainian President's office.
On Tuesday, according to some users who tried to access Anonymous' official website, 'anonymoushackers.net,' they met with the message "Sorry, that didn't work. Please try again or come back later. 500 Error. Internal Server Error."
The hacking group added a Russian-language video address, with a shadowy hooded figure against the backdrop of a Russian flag reading out a text.
They made a video too pic.twitter.com/MF9Dc41WBA
— Levi (@Levi_godman) March 2, 2022
"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," said the hackers.
"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.
"Very soon this conflict will end, and we will find peace.
"Do not be afraid, Russia; no one and nothing can threaten you."
The group suggested to Anonymus to "start restoring your site" and said it "looks very pitiful against in light of your threats against our country."
Following his attack, it appears that Anonymous resorted to fake claims that the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos was hacked and that Russia no longer had control over their own spy-satellites.
The information of these scammers and petty swindlers is not true. All our space activity control centers are operating normally. https://t.co/MY0qzlLqCI
— РОГОЗИН (@Rogozin) March 2, 2022
Despite the account’s large following, the person — or persons — behind the “Anonymous” Twitter account denied that it is the group’s official account, stating in a post: “We are a decentralized resistance movement. There is no official #Anonymous account.”
It’s one of many Twitter accounts that purport to act under the larger umbrella of Anonymous-affiliated social media accounts, although it appears to be one of the largest.
Substantiating the group’s claims is difficult, if not impossible, since anonymity is a key tenet of the collective.
A review of a website that checks server outages confirmed that many of the websites that the group claimed to have knocked down are currently — or were recently — disabled.
An article on RT published on Feb. 28 confirmed that its own website, as well as that of the Kremlin, had in fact been shuttered by Anonymous last Friday.
The article also stated the group had targeted other Russian and Belarusian media outlets on Monday, replacing their main pages with the message “Stop the war.”
On Friday, Anonymous launched a "cyberwar" on Russia, urging hackers worldwide to target Russia given the military operation launched in Ukraine. The group acknowledges its credit for Russian DDoS attacks and media websites, the military, and businesses.
The attacks targeted an independent St. Petersburg-based newspaper, several business outlets, and regional media that are not too connected to federal politics or world affairs.
They seem to have been uncoordinated, disorganised, and indiscriminate.
READ MORE: Russian forces capture Greek-named city of Kherson, Ukraine (MAP)