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Hacker collective Anonymous declares war on Russia

March 1, 2022, 4:53 PM UTC

Vladimir Putin doesn’t just have to worry about NATO anymore. Anonymous has decided to stand up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The rogue group of hackers whose membership ebbs and flows, has declared itself to be in “a cyber warfare campaign against Putin & his allies.”

Using both Twitter and YouTube, the group urged followers (7.6 million on Twitter; 28,000 YouTube subscribers) to launch cyberattacks on the country’s websites. The group claims to have already disabled sites including the state-controlled Russian news agency, the Kremlin’s official site, and Russian internet service providers.

“We, as activists, will not sit idle as Russian forces kill and murder innocent people trying to defend their homeland,” the group said on Twitter.

Anonymous has famously launched attacks on everyone from Gene Simmons and Hustler magazine to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It’s a decentralized group, though, so the Twitter and YouTube channels aren’t “official” vehicles for group communications. There are others, but this Twitter account appears to have the biggest following.

The organization’s actions have gotten certain individuals in trouble with law enforcement officials in the past. This time, though, the group noted the U.S. has admitted to launching cyberattacks of its own, which Anonymous hopes will prevent any legal hurdles.

“While some of our actions may be considered illegal in the eyes of various governments…we see no reason any Western laws should be used against our actions in trying to protect and defend the people of the Ukraine,” the YouTube post said.

Russia, meanwhile, is thought to be carrying out its own barrage of cyberattacks on several Ukrainian targets, including denial of service attacks that shut down governmental websites last week and the infection of hundreds of computers with data-wiping software.

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