On the 24th of February Russia launched a massive invasion of its neighboring country, Ukraine. The west has been warning of an invasion for months, yet despite that the world was caught by surprise. The reasoning Russia has given for the invasion has not been deemed valid by the majority of the world, especially western leaders. Major sanctions have been deployed against the Russian economy. In retaliation to Russia's attack, the hacking group anonymous decided to take action. The group has announced a full on cyber-warfare campaign against the country.
Anonymous calls itself an international, decentralized, hacker-activist groups. They were founded in 2003 on a forum known as 4chan. The groups is widely considered a sort of anarchist group, fighting for human rights like privacy and freedom.
The most popular attack conducted by the group involves hacking the CIA. Another popular cyber-attack involves Visa and MasterCard. The companies websites were notably taken down after they stopped taking donations for WikiLeaks. Anonymous even targeted sony websites and services for months after the company sued a famous hacker known as 'George Hotz'.
After announcing a full scale cyber-warfare against Russia, anonymous was quick to start taking action. Russia's most popular international news agency was taken offline for days. Shortly after the official Kremlin and Russian Ministry of Defense websites were taken down. The two sites remain down for nearly a week. At the moment, anonymous is targeting more than 30 different Russian and Belarusian websites that remain offline. A public list of these websites is available online. Anonymous claims that more Russian 'propaganda outlets' are being targeted daily.
Anonymous meant it when announcing a full on cyber-warfare, not stopping at just taking down sites. Soon after the first attacks on Russian websites started, anonymous deiced to step up its game. The Russian Ministry of Defense was hacked, and details of most Russian military personnel have been stolen. The hacking group has released a public list of with information of Russian soldiers serving in Ukraine. The list is huge, containing the information of over 120,000 people.
In Russia, people response to the war was mixed. A large number of Russians oppose the war in Ukraine and think that it is pointless and avoidable. In protests to the decision of Vladimir Putin, thousands of Russians gathered on the streets to protest the invasion. The protesters were met with fierce resistance, with the Russian police arresting as many as 7,000.
Anonymous read the news and decided to retaliate against the arrest of peaceful protesters. A major Russian pharmacy chain was the target this time. After hacking the chain, the hackers sent a message from the pharmacy's messaging system to all registered customers. A push notification was also sent to everyone with the pharmacy's app. The message said "No to War, Glory to Ukraine".
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is very controversial, and considered a major blow to European security. It is good seeing the whole international community joining the fight for Ukraine. The hacks might not help disrupt the Russian economy much, but at-least they help spread the message. With all the media censoring and control in Russia, the message has to be spread.