Pro-Ukrainian hacker groups are organizing to hit Russia with cyberattacks targeting Moscow’s command, control systems and government infrastructure.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on Thursday approached cybersecurity experts to set up hacker teams to defend Ukrainian infrastructure and launch cyberattacks against invading Russian forces, one of the experts told Reuters. A post shared on hacker forums called on the country’s cybersecurity community to “get involved in our nation’s cyber defense,” the report said.
The global hacktivist group Anonymous Thursday night noted in a tweet, he was “officially in cyberwar against the Russian government” and claimed that he deleted the website of Russian state-controlled media network RT. The network said it was able to “repel” the attack.
Another Belarusian hacktivist group opposed to the Russian regime called the Belarusian cyberpartisan said it created a “Belarusian tactical group” to work with volunteer hackers to help the Ukrainian military fight back in the cyber domain. “We are calling on everyone to share this information and contact us if any volunteers are interested in joining our group,” the group’s spokesperson said. said on Twitter.
Belarusian Cyberpartisans in January claimed he had encrypted parts of the Belarusian Railways organization in an effort to slow the deployment of troops to Belarus as tensions around Ukraine grew. Before that, he claimed to have hacked into the Minsk Interior Ministry. The Belarusian regime is close to the Russian government and helped President Vladimir Putin organize the invasion of Ukraine.
It is unclear whether pro-Ukrainian hacktivists have succeeded in disrupting Russian infrastructure and communication so far.
Russia’s National Computer Incident Response and Coordination Center has warned of cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, Russian media reported on Friday. The agency raised the threat level to “critical”.
Several Russian government websites were inaccessible for part of Thursday, including the Defense Ministry website, the Kremlin website and the Parliamentary Duma website, as was the Sberbank website, the largest bank in the country.
Researchers said they saw Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on these Russian government websites and on banks. A DDoS attack uses large networks of computers known as “botnets” to send an avalanche of traffic to targeted websites, forcing it to stop. Ukrainian government websites have been the target of similar attacks twice in the past two weeks, some of which were carried out by the Russian military intelligence service GRU according to Western security services.