The international hacktivist collective Anonymous declared cyberwar against Russian governmental and financial institutions after Russian forces entered Ukraine’s territory and started a full-scale war last Thursday.
The group revealed warning of cyberattacks against Russian state-owned banks, financial technology companies, and cryptocurrency wallets related to Russian politics.
Global leaders agreed to impose extensive economic and political sanctions against the Russian Federation this weekend; however, concerns arose that the Russian government might shift into digital currencies to evade them.
In the meantime, Ukraine’s government offered to provide generous rewards for any information about the cryptocurrency wallets of Russian and Belarusian politicians.
Anonymous Addresses Putin Personally
The mysterious hackers first addressed Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin last week, with a YouTube video depicting a black-clad figure with the signature Anonymous mask:
“Members of Anonymous have declared cyber war against your aggressive regime with numerous government websites being taken offline in the past several days. A few downed websites is only the beginning though. […] Your secrets may no longer be safe and there is a chance that key components of your government’s infrastructure could be hijacked,” stated Anonymous.
A series of hacks followed the release of the video. Soon after that, Anonymous claimed responsibility for successfully hacking and taking down more than 300 Russian government, bank, and state media websites, causing Russia massive losses.
The group reported having leaked 40,000 files from the Russian Nuclear Institute and a database of the Russian Ministry of Defence, which included the list of its employees’ names, contacts and email passwords. The database was later posted online and made available for everyone.
The hacktivists also took down Russia’s state-backed news agencies, Russia Today and Tass.
Russia Today has been accused of spreading propaganda and disinformation and was thus targeted by hackers. RT and Tass were inaccessible during the weekend after cyberattacks including distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
The hackers further attacked several other Russian TV channels to broadcast videos from the ongoing war and also Ukrainian national songs. Russian media, in the meantime, refuses to refer to the situation in Ukraine as “war.”
World Donates Crypto
With threats to intensify cyberattacks against the Russian government, financial institutions, and the private sector, Anonymous called on countries to support Ukraine with any powers they have.
But while global leaders were in discussions to announce economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the global crypto community teamed up to crowdfund the Ukrainians.
According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the Ukrainian government and NGOs providing support to the military have raised $20 million through thousands of cryptocurrency donations since the start of the Russian invasion.
On Saturday, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, as well as official governmental websites asked for the world’s support and donations in digital currencies.
The Vice Prime minister shared three wallet addresses, where anyone could contribute financial support in the form of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or USDT:
Stand with the people of Ukraine— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
Now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Ethereum. Bitcoin and Tether (USDTtrc20)
BTC — 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P
ETH — 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14
USDT (trc20) — TEFccmfQ38cZS1DTZVhsxKVDckA8Y6VfCy
In just a few days, the addresses listed in the tweets have received $20 million through more than 20,000 transactions. The majority of the received donations came in Bitcoin and Ethereum, although USDT and even NFTs were sent to the Ukrainian government.
Dozens of crypto fundraising campaigns to support Ukraine have also been organized outside Ukraine.
Not the First Target
The Russian government became the latest target of the infamous hacktivist collective, but it certainly is not the only one.
The Anonymous movement has been behind most of the high-profile cyber operations including attacks against governments, governmental agencies, corporations, and religious institutions since 2003.
Anonymous actions have always attracted widespread media attention. It has never revealed its identity.