Anonymous, an international hacking collective that has conducted cyberattacks against governments and corporations, appeared to declare war against Putin and Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
The “YourAnonNews” Twitter account, which boasts 6.5 million followers, made the declaration on Thursday, saying that the hacking group is “currently involved in operations against the Russian Federation.”
“We want the Russian people to understand that we know it’s hard for them to speak out against their dictator for fear of reprisals,” the decentralized hacking collective said.
“We, as a collective want only peace in the world. We want a future for all of humanity. So, while people around the globe smash your internet providers to bits, understand that it’s entirely directed at the actions of the Russian government and Putin.”
RT.com, a Russian government-funded media outlet that the U.S. State Department describes as a critical element in “Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem,” said that it was targeted in what appears to be a widespread denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
A DDoS attack is a coordinated effort to knock a website offline by flooding it with traffic.
Websites for the Kremlin and State Duma lower house of parliament were also intermittently unavailable on Thursday, which could have been caused by DDoS attacks.
Ukraine Defense Ministry officials requested assistance from the country’s hacker underground on Thursday morning to beef up their cybersecurity defenses, Reuters reports.
Yegor Aushev, the co-founder of a cybersecurity company in Kyiv, told the news outlet that offensive volunteers will conduct digital espionage against Russian forces, while defensive volunteers will help protect the country’s infrastructure.
Several Ukrainian government websites were hit by DDoS attacks on Thursday as Russian troops inched closer to Kyiv.
The U.S. government is bracing for potential cyberattacks on the nation’s financial institutions, a homeland security official said on Thursday.