Russia: Anonymous declare cyber-war on Putin amid invasion
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On Sunday, Twitter account @DepaixPorter posted: “We are #Anonymous. We have been printing anti-propaganda and Tor installation instructions to printers all over #Russia for two hours, and printed 100,000 copies so far.” The statement went on to add that, at the time, there were 15 people working on the activist operation, which appears to have been dubbed OpRedScare.
The tweet was accompanied by pictures of the document that the group’s hack is forcing unsecured Russian printers to reproduce and screenshots of the file being repeatedly sent to a printer.
A native Russian speaker told Express.co.uk that “the Russian doesn’t sound natural” in the message, suggesting that it was penned in another language — possibly English, given the OS system language shown in the screenshots — and run through an online machine translation service like, for example, Google Translate.
Translated into English, the missive reads: “Citizens of Russia! Act now to stop terrorist Putin from killing thousands in Ukraine.
“The people of Russia should find horror in Putin’s actions. He sent your family and friends to fight the Ukrainians. Putin started this war over borders and fear of the West, not over Ukraine.
“The government of Ukraine is not run by Nazis, it is disinformation and propaganda spread by Putin. The citizens of Ukraine are the biggest victims in this senseless war, thousands of civilians were killed by Putin and his orders.”
The translated document continues: “Don’t trust me. Read for yourself.
“Fight Putin and restore the honour of Russia! By protesting, spreading the truth among your family and friends, and not falling for propaganda, you will regain your honour and respect.
“The civilised world took up arms against Russia because of Putin, not the citizens of Russia. Return the status of your country to end the embargo! Protest Putin’s illegal war and spread the truth about his lies. Only your actions can save the innocent in Ukraine.
“A sheaf of paper and ink is a cheap price for the blood of the innocent. Fight for your heritage and honour, overthrow Putin’s corrupt system that steals from your pockets.
“Return respect. Give peace and glory to Ukraine, which did not deserve the murder of its innocents! Read the truth below while Putin is still allowing these sites.”
This was followed by links to nearly a dozen websites.
In a separate tweet, Anonymous member @DepaixPorteur said that the hack began by targeting 156 Russian printers.
Express.co.uk has approached @DepaixPorteur for comment.
Anonymous appears to have launched several cyberattacks targeting Russian systems since the country first invaded Ukraine.
On February 24, Twitter user @YourAnonOne posted that “the Anonymous collective is officially in cyberwar against the Russian government.”
Two days later, the hacktivist collective claimed responsibility for the Kremlin website temporarily going down, while more recent cyber attacks have seen dozens of Russian databases compromised — with file names changed to pro-Ukrainian slogans — and Russian TV news broadcasts replaced with footage of the invasion.
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Anonymous’ latest move to spread what they have dubbed “anti-propaganda” comes in the wake of a crackdown by Russia on any reporting on the war with Ukraine that deviates from the official Kremlin line.
The law — which was passed on March 4 — makes any such action a criminal offence that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
According to the Russian news site Meduza, the Kremlin has also issued a list of prohibited words that local media are not allowed to use when discussing the Ukraine situation.
Reportedly, “attack”, “invasion” and “war” are all banned terms; state media outlets appear to prefer to refer to the invasion as a “special military operation”.
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