Dawning the mask of Guy Fawkes, the hacker collective Anonymous has claimed credit for several cyberattacks that took down Russian government websites and state-backed news outlets in recent days.
On Monday, several prominent Russian media services appeared to have been hit simultaneously, including the state-run news agencies TASS and RIA Novosti and the newspaper Kommersant. Over the weekend, the websites of the Kremlin, the Duma – the lower house of the Russian parliament – and the Russian defense ministry were also down in an attack claimed by Anonymous on Twitter.
Anonymous also claimed on Sunday to have hacked Russian state TV channels, posting pro-Ukraine content including patriotic songs and images from the invasion. Euronews Next could not independently verify the claim. Anonymous, which emerged at the beginning of the 2000s, have historically been vocal about defending free speech and privacy, Schmitlin noted, adding that their actions in cyberspace, while fairly simple, had the potential to be “very disruptive”.
“To defend an institution, a government, you need a lot of resources. But to attack a system you only need one or two skilled persons. Just a dozen people could have a big impact,” he said.
A growing battalion of hackers is believed to be teaming up to fight Russia in cyberspace.
Ukraine’s vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Saturday the country was setting up an “IT army” to counter Russia’s digital attacks.