Anonymous hacks into Russia’s top censorship agency to reveal the truth and undermine Putin

March 11, 2022, 8:09 PM UTC
Close-up adult hand typing on laptop
Close-up adult hand typing on laptop
Bill Hinton—Getty Images

Amid fears that Russian leaders could cut off the internet, Anonymous hacked into media censorship agency Roskomnadzor and took emails and files. 

Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) published the originally stolen files by Anonymous hacktivists, who are trying to undermine Putin’s propaganda.

The Roskomnadzor agency is trying to make it impossible for Russians to access accurate, non-biased information about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Anonymous has fought back. Last week, it posted footage of hacking Russian TV channels to show coverage of the war.

What is Roskomnadzor?

Roskomnadzor is the service that oversees access to media like Facebook and Twitter in Russia. Recently, it has threatened to cut off access from Wikipedia because of its coverage of the Ukraine invasion. 

The service has also ordered all media outlets in Russia only to use state-approved information sources or face punishment. Words like “attack,” “invasion,” and “war” are prohibited when describing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the past, Roskomnadzor has demanded that companies in the U.S. like Google to censor content related to Ukraine protesting Russia and censor content related to Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is considered a terror organization in Russia, according to Forbes

What is DDoSecrets?

DDoSecrets is an organization that believes in total transparency of data that is in the public interest. It was co-founded by Emma Best, who is based in the U.S. 

This is not the first time the agency has targeted Russian government agencies. In 2019, it published files and emails that it claimed came from Russian oligarchs, politicians, religious figures, journalists, and nationalists in Ukraine. This feat focused on Russia’s operations in Ukraine after Crimea was annexed in 2014. 

The agency also targeted U.S. police forces during the George Floyd protests and published data from police departments.

The Leak

Amid concern that Russia could be cut off from the global internet, the hackers hope that the data they share will expose the censorship the Russian government is imposing on its people. The hacktivists intend to keep the Russian people connected with the outside world and independent media.

The data leak seems to be significant. The 340,000 files released cover operations in Bashkortostan, one of Russia’s most populated Republics.

Although DDoSecrets’ website has tools that can help with security, because of the large number of files, anyone looking into the data should be careful of malware.

Russia reacts

Russia’s deputy digital minister, Andrei Chernenko is calling on Russian state-owned websites to escalate security according to The Daily Mail.

He is urging them to move away from JavaScript and stick to domestic sources.

State-owned web services have also been instructed to switch to domain name system servers on Russian soil.

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