Hackers Declare War on Russia 


Misha Ankudovych, Editor-In-Chief

The hacker collective who call themselves Anonymous have published a formal declaration of cyberwar against the Russian Federation on Twitter and YouTube. The move comes as a growing portion of the world, including NATO and the EU, have directly opposed Russia’s actions through the use of economic sanctions. 

The hacker collective has called all computer specialists to join the fight, and noted that there is a job for everyone. They are currently broadcasting a Telegram group where anyone interested will receive assignments in order to combat the Russian military offensive, either through direct interference in the Russian military, or through informing the Russian people of the actions of their government, combating Russian disinformation campaigns. 

History of Anonymous 

(PHOTO: Image of Anonymous protest during Project Chanology against Scientology in 2008)

The Anonymous hacktivist group was first created in 2003 on the image posting site 4Chan, however they did not become associated with hacktivism until 2008 when they launched Project Chanology, their crusade against the Church of Scientology. 

After this event, Anonymous has remained committed to using their skills with technology to assert their code of ethics onto the world. In the past 14 years Anonymous have targeted corporations, government institutions and individuals using DDoS and other penetration testing tactics to bring down websites, leak data and other actions aimed at disrupting people who do things that do not align with the group’s code of ethics.  

Anonymous has been seen to be against government oversight, and in support of peoples who are fighting for their own freedom, as was seen in their participation using the Arab Spring and the Russo-Ukrainian invasion. They have also shown to support equality. One of the most recent controversial acts associated with the group was their threats directed at Derek Chauvin after his killing of George Floyd. Anonymous has also taken a stand against pedophiles on social media sites, and have taken down messaging sites used by these pedophiles to share images. 

Dozens of hackers have been arrested in connection to attacks linked to the group, however, they state that it all worth it for the promotion of their message. 

Anonymous’ Actions During This Self-Proclaimed War 

Groups and individual hackers associated with the Anonymous group have completed a vast number of offensives that directly relate to one of two categories: Interference with the Russian military, and providing information to the Russian people, who are currently targets of a vast Russian-sponsored disinformation campaign to skew their invasion of Ukraine into Russia’s favor. 

Combating Russia 

Anonymous has completed a number of attacks that have directly dampened the Russian military offensive.

Most recently, a hacker group associated with Anonymous, NB65 have claimed responsibility for an attack that targeted Roscosmos, the Russian space service. These hackers shared screenshots of their accomplishments and claimed that, as a result of their hack, Russia will no longer have access to their vehicle monitoring and spy satellites, at least for a period of time as they work to regain access. The Kremlin denies this attack, and has asserted their satellite systems are completely unhackable. The same group also received access to and released over 40,000 files from the country’s nuclear safety institute, the contents of these files has not yet been translated. 

Another hack also led to the release of Russian space mission files. 

Archived portions of the site state “Heyyy Russian f*** .. Sorry.. Cosmonauts ??.. idk what to say, go get a nice website instead of threatening people with ISS, heard??”

The Russian gas control terminals have also supposedly been hacked as well, almost leading to the gas storage centers ‘turning to fireworks’. 

Anonymous linked hackers have also hacked a number of state-sponsored Russian websites, including ones with military ties. They then leaked the information about over 100,000 Russian soldiers and offered them each up to $50,000 USD in bitcoin for each Russian tank that they surrender. This goes hand-in-hand with the Ukrainian government agreeing to give amnesty and asylum (in another country) to any Russian soldiers deserting their posts. Russian cyber criminal forums have also been hacked, and the members of the forums have had their usernames, password and identifiable information leaked. This is expected to impact the ability for Russian hackers to release malware. 

The attacks also targeted Russian allies in Chechnya and Belarus: Chechen government websites were taken down, and a Belarusian hacking collective has also laid claim to an attack on their country’s railway system. They aim to make it more difficult for these trains to be used in order to transport Russian soldiers into Ukraine. 

Combating Misinformation

In its mission, Anonymous has reportedly hacked over 1,500 Russian websites and is using them to spread information about the current invasion in an attempt to combat Russian propaganda. These hacks range drastically from pure gags to serious information. Some sites have purely been transformed to display a Ukrainian flag or play the Ukrainian national anthem. This is similar to Russian TV and radio stations that have been taken over with the same purpose; these, however, are not the attacks that have the ability to bring about true change. 

(PHOTO: Translated version of message appearing on various Russian news sites) 

Attacks such as these are more likely to promote actionable change, as their goal is to inform the people in Russia, who otherwise do not have access to reliable media. This webpage includes a call to action to the Russian people, and also includes a true estimate of the Russian soldiers that have been killed so far in this invasion. It is noted that more soldiers have died (5000+) in the four days of this invasion than died in the Chechen invasion (>4000) whose main combat phase lasted over nine months. 

Other than these practical attacks, Anonymous have done others specifically designed to win public opinion, and ‘memeify’ their position. Such as renaming Putin’s yacht FCKPTN and setting its destination to hell in computer navigation systems. In a war that is as much about information than it is about fighting, Anonymous have shown their mastery in transmitting information.

Anonymous acknowledged that a number of their attacks would be considered illegal by numerous countries, but find their actions justified as they are defending innocent people. Regardless on one’s personal stance, it is undeniable the implications that a decentralized group that has the ability to significantly impact conflicts without ever stepping foot in combat zones, has on this war, and for wars to come.