Prolific hacktivist group Anonymous have joined the digital trenches of the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian conflict. After the Russian military issued conflict against the Ukranian army, the hacker group declared virtual war against the country.
Anonymous vs Russian
Reported by ABC, hackers identifying as part of Anonymous have started to battle the Russian government on the digital front. Announced on Twitter, the hacker group stated that the “collective is officially in cyber war against the Russian government”.
The hacker collective has taken over a number of key Russian government websites used to spread state propaganda. Websites include websites for the Kremlin, Russian defence ministry and governmental websites as well as state-controlled Russia Today news.
Russia Today was specifically targeted due to its pro-Russian stance on the conflict, an expected reality of a state-controlled outlet. Coverage of the battle has shown celebratory actions in occupied territories, including fireworks displays.
Currently, the hacker group’s digital offensive has entirely consisted of DDoS attacks, Distributed Denial of Service. These attacks flood websites with hordes of visitors, so much so that they can't accept any new users. However, the hacker group is planning for more serious offensives in the future.
DDoS is just the start
While DDoS attacks are certainly an effective way of limiting the spread of propaganda, that's not all Anonymous has planned. In a recent announcement, the hacking collective revealed bigger plans to tackle the crisis.
On February 15th, the group threatened the Russian government with a massive cyber attack. If the battle against Ukraine exacerbates, the group promised to take Russia’s industrial control systems hostage, similar to non-Anonymous attacks on the United States.
The effectiveness of the decentralised hacking group comes entirely from its anonymous makeup. As Internet security expert Robert Potter told ABC: “Any cyber activity that's conceptually anonymous and deniable is more likely to be successful as it won't escalate things between countries.”