Websites of major Russian media taken down by hackers
The websites of several Russian and Belarusian media outlets were targeted on Monday, with the main pages being replaced by the message ‘stop the war’. The ‘Anonymous’ hacker collective claims to be responsible.
The websites of TASS, Kommersant, RBK, Izvestia, Fontanka, as well as some outlets in Belarus, were targeted and disabled.
It follows the declaration of ‘cyber war’ against Russia made by ‘Anonymous’ on February 25, the day after President Vladimir Putin launched a military offensive in Ukraine.
On the sites’ main pages, a message from Anonymous written on behalf of “not indifferent Russian journalists” can be seen.
The message urges “dear citizens” to “stop this madness,” and not to send their “sons and husbands to certain death.” The message, supposedly from journalists, says Putin “makes us lie and puts us in danger.”
“We were isolated from the whole world, they stopped buying oil and gas. In a few years we will live like in North Korea. Why do we need that? To put Putin in the textbooks? This is not our war, let’s stop it!” it reads.
Monday’s attack follows the February 25 ‘Anonymous’ hack of several websites, including RT.com and the pages of the Kremlin and the Duma.
The hacker collective does not have any streamlined hierarchy and its operations have been related to a wide range of issues from various political perspectives.
The long list of Anonymous’ previous targets includes US government websites, the CIA, the Church of Scientology, and the Epilepsy Foundation – which was targeted with flashing strobes in 2008.
Putin justified the decision to launch a military offensive against Ukraine last week, saying it was necessary to “demilitarize” Ukraine to protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and to protect Russia’s security interests. The majority of Western countries condemned the attack and imposed tough sanctions on Moscow.