Anonymous’s war against Russia

Michal Martinka

In Russian attack to Ukraine, it is possible to discover many types of war: the aggressive bloody war against Ukraine, the propaganda war against truth in Russia and on both fronts. It is possible to watch another type of war not seen in the past. The hackers group known as “Anonymous” declared in Twitter cyber-war against Russia.

Who they are and what does cyber-war against Russia mean? The origin of “Anonymous” is in the online message forums of – a social community website founded in 2003. On this website, users often organized group pranks called “raids” that caused disruptions in other online communities. Those raids were in the beginning just a way of cheap entertainment, but later changed their object of interest to social and political aims.

Their first serious hacking attack came in 2008 against Church of Scientology and was called “Project Chanology”. They used tactics like denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on the church’s websites, prank phone calls and faxing the church to waste their printer ink. This attack was followed by a series of protests against Scientology with protesters wearing the black and white Guy Fawkes mask, which has since become the symbol of this group.

Since this attack they carried out many attacks against various targets as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, PayPal, government websites in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the Middle East and Africa, ISIS and many others.

Anonymous does not have a leader or controlling group, but operates as a loose collective who share similar ideals and aims. These ideals are difficult to describe because their main characteristic is anonymity, which is their advantage but also their “Achilles heel” at the same time. It is difficult to stop them or track them, but everyone can speak in their name.

According to a 2008 tweet, Anonymous members as “working class people seeking a better future for humanity.” It lists Anonymous’ guiding principles as “freedom of information, freedom of speech, accountability of companies and governments, privacy and anonymity for private citizens.”

On 24 February 2022 a post appeared in their twitter account: “The Anonymous collective is officially in cyber war against Russian government. Cyber war’s target is to create damage on IT systems of all types. The soldiers in this war are hackers who use computers to attack the enemy’s military, political and propaganda systems.

Anonymous publicly said that it had hacked the personal information of 120,000 Russian soldiers, including dates of birth, addresses, passport numbers, and unit affiliations. It also claimed to have hacked the country’s central bank and stole 35,000 files. A Twitter account affiliated with the collective posted images of some of the alleged stolen documents.

The collective also proudly posted on the official AnonymousTwitter account that it had hacked Russian TV channels to show citizens the devastation of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Several prominent Russian media outlets appeared to have been hit simultaneously, including the state-run news agencies TASS and RIA Novosti and the newspaper Kommersant. Their homepages temporarily displayed a message opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the AFP news agency reported.