Anonymous launches attacks against Russia and pledges support for Ukraine against ‘Kremlin’s brutal invasion’

Hacking group Anonymous has said that it will support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and has already claimed an attack on the state-controlled TV network Russia Today.

Russia launched a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine yesterday, with explosions reported near Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, as well as the capital Kyiv.

Airports have been shut down temporarily and the Ukrainian government has declared martial law. There have been 137 deaths and 316 injuries of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers reported so far.

While the fight on the ground was happening, Russia Today’s servers were taken offline. The broadcaster has been criticised for putting out “propaganda” to the extent that the UK government has asked media regulator Ofcom to review its output.

Anonymous claimed credit for the attack, posting on Twitter that it took down the “propaganda station … in response to Kremlin’s brutal invasion”. The group did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

At the time of the tweet RT was briefly unavailable, before returning online without images.

Currently, the broadcaster is online and appears to be operating as normal.

“After the statement by Anonymous, RT’s websites became the subject of a massive DDoS attack from nearly 100 million devices, mostly based in the US”, RT told The Independent in a statement.

“Due to the hack there were temporary website access limitations for some users, yet RT promptly resolved these issues.”

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are performed by overwhelming websites with junk traffic to render them unreachable. Similar attacks were performed on the websites of Ukraine’s defence, foreign, and interior ministries ahead of Russia’s invasion.

Anonymous is often motivated by political causes, such as supporting the protests after the death of George Floyd in 2020 and its declaration of ‘war’ on the Turkish government in 2015 due to the belief it was working with Isis.

However, due to the nature of the Anonymous group, it can sometimes be difficult to verify their attacks as anyone can claim to be a member of the community without revealing their identity.