Groups of pro-Ukrainian hackers are organizing to hit Russia with cyberattacks targeting Moscow’s command-control systems and government infrastructure.
Ukraine’s defense ministry turned to cybersecurity experts on Thursday to assemble hacking teams to defend Ukraine’s infrastructure and launch cyberattacks on Russia’s invading forces, one of the experts told Reuters. A post shared on hacker forums urged the country’s cybersecurity community to “get involved in our country’s cyber defense,” the report said.
The global hacktivist group Anonymous on Thursday evening called In a tweet she was “officially in the cyber war against the Russian government” and claimed it was shut down the website of the state-controlled Russian media network RT. The network said it was able to “repel” the attack.
Another Belarusian hacktivist group opposed to the Russian regime calls itself the Belarusian cyber partisans said it created a “Belarus tactical group” to work with volunteer hackers to help Ukraine’s military fight back in cyberspace. “We urge everyone to share this information and to get in touch if volunteers would like to join our group,” the group’s spokesperson said said on Twitter.
The Belarusian cyber partisans claimed in January It had encrypted parts of the Belarusian railway organization to slow troop deployments in Belarus as tensions around Ukraine rose. Previously, she claimed to have hacked the Minsk Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Belarusian regime is close to the Russian government and has helped President Vladimir Putin prepare for the invasion of Ukraine.
It is unclear whether the pro-Ukrainian hacktivists have so far managed to disrupt Russian infrastructure and communications.
Russia’s national center for computer incident response and coordination warned of cyberattacks on Russia’s infrastructure, Russian media reported on Friday. The agency raised the threat level to critical.
Several Russian government websites were temporarily unavailable Thursday, including the Defense Ministry website, the Kremlin website and the Parliament Duma website, as well as the website of state-owned Sberbank, the country’s largest bank.
Researchers said they saw distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on these Russian government Web pages and further banks. A DDoS attack uses large networks of computers known as “botnets” to send an avalanche of traffic to targeted websites, causing them to crash. Ukrainian government websites have been hit twice in the past two weeks by similar attacks, some of which were carried out by the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, according to Western security services.