Google blocks map reviews in Russia as hackers claim space agency breach

Table of Contents


While Ukrainian forces fight against the Russian military’s invasion, hackers from around the world are causing disruption to Russia’s digital infrastructure.

Hacking groups such as Anonymous and the Cyber Partisans have claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on Russia’s banks, state broadcaster RT, and a Belarusian rail network reportedly used to move troops from Russia to Ukraine.

Peace talks between the two countries are ongoing between the two nations, but it remains unclear how long the bloodshed will last. Currently, these cyber groups have said that they stand with Ukraine against Russia’s powerful online forces – causing disruption to stop the country’s own attacks against Ukraine and the West.

“DDoS alone will not bring down a regime”, one German Anonymous splinter group said in a blog post, but “Putin, who is using hacker squads and troll armies against Western democracies, is getting a sip of his own bitter medicine”.

The intention is to “keep the Russian IT apparatus busy and to provide Putin’s hacker troops … with defensive work so that they cannot do anything in Ukraine or the West . Obtaining information is also an important point and you just don’t see a lot of what activists are currently doing.”

Key points

  • Russian ransomware hackers pledge support to Putin and immediately have secret chats exposed by Ukrainian leaker

  • Russian EV charging stations hacked with ‘Putin is a d***head’ message

  • Anonymous claims to have hacked Russian space agency

Anonymous claims 2,500 hacks

11:52 , Adam Smith

The hacking collective Anonymous has now claimed responsibility for 2,500 attacks on “Russian & Belarusian gov’t, state media outlets, banks, hospitals, airports [and] companies.

This number has risen by 1,000 since earlier this week – however, since anyone can be associated with Anonymous, this figure is difficult to verify.

Russia to remain on internet as authorities refuse Ukraine’s demand to disconnect the country

10:49 , Adam Smith

The Ukrainian government’s demand to have Russian domain names removed from the internet will not go ahead.

On Monday, Andrii Nabok and vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov, emailed the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) to “introduce strict sanctions against the Russian Federation in the field of DNS regulation”.

Their request, however, has been dismissed. “As you know, the Internet is a decentralized system. No one actor has the ability to control it or shut it down,” ICANN chief Göran Marby wrote in his response.

“Our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the Internet — regardless of the provocations,” he added. “Essentially, ICANN has been built to ensure that the Internet works, not for its coordination role to be used to stop it from working.”

Read the full story here

Russia could refuse to launch UK satellites, head of space agency suggests

Thursday 3 March 2022 23:59 , Adam Smith

Russia will refuse to conduct an upcoming UK satellite launch unless it can be assured they are not used for military purposes, the head of its space agency said.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is contracted to conduct a launch on behalf of OneWeb, the satellite firm part owned by the British government. It is scheduled to happen from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday.

But if OneWeb is not able to give a guarantee that the satellites will not be used for military purposes by Friday evening, Russia’s rocket will no longer conduct the launch, according to Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.

Ukraine requests dogecoin donations as meme coin ‘exceeds Russian ruble’

Thursday 3 March 2022 22:00 , Adam Smith

Ukraine’s vice prime minister has requested dogecoin donations as part of fundraising efforts following Russia’s invasion of the eastern European country.

Mykhailo Fedorov, who also serves as Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, said the funds will “contribute to the Ukrainian victory as well as support civil people”.

The country has already raised more than $33 million worth of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since launching a fundraiser over the weekend.

“Dogecoin exceeded Russian ruble in value,” Mr Fedorov tweeted on Wednesday.

The rise of hoax news: How a shameful new industry is profiting from war

Thursday 3 March 2022 21:00 , Adam Smith

The extremely online nature of modern warfare has spawned a cottage industry of scammers, fraud artists, and disinformation merchants trying to profit from crisis, Io Dodds writes

Ukraine cancels ‘crypto airdrop’ and will sell NFTs to support armed forces instead

Thursday 3 March 2022 20:00 , Adam Smith

Ukraine has cancelled a “crypto airdrop” and will sell NFTs to support its armed forces instead, a member of its government has announced.

The “airdrop” had prompted intrigue and confusion when it was announced by Mykhailo Fedorov, the country’s vice prime minister.

He has since announced that it would cancel the airdrop but continue to look at ways for people to raise money for Ukraine through the blockchain.

“After careful consideration we decided to cancel airdrop,” Mr Fedorov tweeted. “Every day there are more and more people willing to help Ukraine to fight back the aggression.

“Instead, we will announce NFTs to support Ukrainian Armed Forces soon. We DO NOT HAVE any plans to issue any fungible tokens.”

‘Trolling, hacking and ordering pizza’: Anonymous reveals how it plans to continue fight for Ukraine

Thursday 3 March 2022 18:00 , Adam Smith

Members of the hacking group Anonymous are planning a number of new attacks including breaching and leaking databases, defacing websites, and ordering pizzas.

Representatives for the hacking collective told The Independent that these tactics – alongside trolling, enlisting targets’ phone numbers to escort sites, and taking over data centres – are common tactics, but that “your guess is as good as ours” for what might happen next.

This is because Anonymous infamously does not have a leadership or organisational structure, with the group saying that they do not “gather on schedule, to discuss and vote” but rather “someone brings up an idea or a done hack or anything and if other Anons like it, they join a group around this. Or don’t.”

Read the full article here

Google Maps suspends reviews as Russian landmarks flooded with photos of captured soldiers and news clips

Thursday 3 March 2022 12:45 , Adam Smith

Google has blocked users leaving reviews on Maps for places in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Tripadvisor has taken the same action on its own platform, as users were posting political statements to the ‘reviews’ sections of businesses and restaurants in those countries to try and communicate across borders in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The idea was spread by a Twitter account representing the hacking group Anonymous earlier this week, as well as Ukraine’s ‘IT Army’ – a group trying to counter Russian propaganda.

A review of the Zoological Museum of Moscow University stated “you have dead animals,” with pictures of captured Russian soldiers, while a monument to the Soviet film Officers is linked to dozens of photos of captive soldiers and screenshots of news clips, Motherboard reported.

Why haven’t the cyberattacks on Ukraine worked?

Thursday 3 March 2022 11:00 , Adam Smith

It was expected that Russia would have launched cyberattacks against Ukraine to cripple its infrastructure, but many report that attacks have not been as devastating as one would have expected.

However, Russia’s campaign seems more improvised – with internet and power grids still operational. That said, it is possible worse attacks could still come.

Alex Bornyakov, deputy minister of digital transformation for Ukraine, told TechCrunch that “you have no idea” the level of cyberattacks Ukraine has been facing.

“The connections are working. There are no electronics impacted yet. They hit one of the stations but it’s just one in a big city. There are a lot of others. But I think they will try to disrupt connections. They didn’t do this in the first place because I think they thought that this would be faster and easier, they would just run through the city, stop in the main square and just celebrate. That’s why they didn’t touch any infrastructure in the first place”, he said.

“But then the Russians realized they are not welcome here. They are occupying territory. So after like almost a week, they started to destroy our infrastructure, hit civilian objectives, kill civilian people.”

Anonymous struck by Russian hackers

Thursday 3 March 2022 09:19 , Adam Smith

A Russian hacking group known as Killnet has claimed it has disrupted Anonymous’ own websites.

The website ‘anonymoushackers.net’ was reportedly unusable, displaying instead a ‘500 Error. Internal Server Error.’ The website is now operational.

Pro-Russian hackers launch email attack to disrupt Ukraine refugee rescue attempts

Wednesday 2 March 2022 22:00 , Adam Smith

A “likely” cyber attack from a “nation-state” using a Ukrainian soldier’s email address has been used to try and disrupt European officials’ attempts to help refugees fleeing the country from Russia’s invasion.

The “state sponsored phishing campaign”, whereby login credentials and other user data are stolen by hackers, appeared to use the email address to send a malicious micro attachment to the Emergency Meeting of the NATO Security Council that took place on 23 February.

The intention seems to be to trick government personal tasked with managing transportation of refugees into downloading the Lua malware ‘SunSeed’, according to cybersecurity researchers at Proofpoint.

While the researchers cannot “definitively attribute” this campaign, they believe that it is from the threat actor TA445 (aka Ghostwriter/UNC1151).

This is based on the timeline of the attack, use of compromised sender addresses that align with Ukrainian government reports, and the victimology of the campaign align with previous attempts made by TA445 in 2021 with regards to Belarus funnelling refugees to the Polish border.

Russia refuses to launch UK satellites unless government agrees to demands, space agency says

Wednesday 2 March 2022 21:00 , Adam Smith

Russia will refuse to launch UK satellites unless the government agrees to its demands, its space agency has said.

Roscosmos is due to launch a host of satellites this week on behalf of OneWeb, a firm part-owned by the UK government, in a deal agreed before the escalation of tensions. It has become something of a test of whether international co-operation in space will continue amid growing aggression on the ground.

Russia had already said that it would only launch the satellites if OneWeb would guarantee that they would not be used for military purposes. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, also said in the same TV interview that OneWeb had paid in full for the launch and Russia would keep that fee whether the launch went ahead or not.

Now Roscosmos has announced new demands, requiring that the UK government sell its stake in the firm before the launch can go ahead on 5 March.

“Due to the UK’s hostile stance towards Russia, another condition for the launch of OneWeb spacecraft on March 5 is the withdrawal of the British government from the shareholders of OneWeb,” the Russian space agency said in a tweet.

Ukraine demands that Russia be cut off from the internet to stop ‘atrocious crimes’

Wednesday 2 March 2022 20:00 , Adam Smith

Ukraine has asked two international internet bodies to remove Russia from the internet.

Two representatives for Ukraine, Andrii Nabok and deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov, emailed the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) to “introduce strict sanctions against the Russian Federation in the field of DNS regulation”.

The government officials claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violates the Geneva Conventions, but the “atrocious crimes” have been achieved due to “the Russian propaganda machinery using websites continuously spreading disinformation, hate speech, promoting violence and hiding the truth”.

The letter also says that Ukraine’s IT infrastructure has been attacked numerous times by Russia – which has caused the country to recruit a volunteer cyber army – and that Russia’s aggression could beget nuclear war.

It demands the organisations “revoke, permanently or temporarily, the domains ‘.ru’, ‘.рф’ and ‘.su’”, as well as revoking SSL certificates and shutting down domain name servers – commonly described as the address book of the internet – in Russia.

Russia threatens to block Wikipedia over article on Ukraine invasion

Wednesday 2 March 2022 19:00 , Adam Smith

Moscow has threatened to block access to Wikipedia’s Russian-language site over an article about Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Amid widespread reports that Russia’s war is not going to plan, Moscow further tightened its grip on the information available to its populace on Tuesday and attacked Google and Meta as “foreign instigators of war”, after they also clamped down on Kremlin-backed media outlets.

Having ordered independent media outlets last week to remove references to Russia’s “assault, invasion, or declaration of war” or face being blocked and fined, the Russian media watchdog – Roskomnadzor – has now issued a similar threat to Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Russia confirmed to The Independent on Wednesday that it had received the threat from Moscow’s communications regulator, which was published on the former’s website.

Pro-Russian hackers launch email attack to disrupt Ukraine refugee rescue attempts

Wednesday 2 March 2022 11:49 , Adam Smith

A “likely” cyber attack from a “nation-state” using a Ukrainian soldier’s email address has been used to try and disrupt European officials’ attempts to help refugees fleeing the country from Russia’s invasion.

The “state sponsored phishing campaign”, whereby login credentials and other user data are stolen by hackers, appeared to use the email address to send a malicious micro attachment to the Emergency Meeting of the NATO Security Council that took place on 23 February.

While the researchers cannot “definitively attribute” this campaign, they believe that it is from the threat actor TA445 (aka Ghostwriter/UNC1151).

This is based on the timeline of the attack, use of compromised sender addresses that align with Ukrainian government reports, and the victimology of the campaign align with previous attempts made by TA445 in 2021 with regards to Belarus funnelling refugees to the Polish border.

Ukrainian cyber group to launch guerrilla warfare on Russian power grid

Wednesday 2 March 2022 11:11 , Adam Smith

A Ukrainian cyber resistance group said it planned to attack key Russian infrastructure, including the railways and electricity grid, to retaliate against Moscow’s invasion of the country.

Yegor Aushev, a local cybersecurity expert, said on Monday that he planned to organise a group of hackers in Ukraine to defend against Russia, Reuters reported. The targets would include infrastructure that helped Russians bring weapons to Ukraine for the invasion.

“Everything that might stop the war. The goal is to make it impossible to bring these weapons to our country,” he was quoted as saying.

Russian EV charging stations hacked with ‘Putin is a d***head’ message

Wednesday 2 March 2022 09:24 , Adam Smith

Russian hackers also changed the messages on electric vehicle charging stations to hurl curses at Vladimir Putin.

The chargers along the M11 motorway, which runs between Moscow and St Petersburg, were disabled and started to display pro-Ukrainian messages, according to social media users.

“Glory to Ukraine / Glory to the heroes / Putin is a d***head / Death to the enemy,” the message reportedly read.

Anonymous claims to have hacked Russian space agency

Wednesday 2 March 2022 09:05 , Adam Smith

A group affiliated with Anonymous called NB6 has claimed to have hacked Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency.

#Russia has no more control over their own Spy-Satelites”, an Anonymous Twitter account posted.

The Independent has not been able to confirm the accuracy of these claims, and the space agency’s chief executive has denied that it has been affected.

Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday that any claims of a hack are made by “fraudsters and pretty swindlers” and that “all our space control centers operate as usual”.

Mr Rogozin has said previously that control of the Russian space industry, orbital group and the Russian International Space Station segment are thoroughly protected and isolated by cyber criminals, but threatened that sanctions placed against Russia could have a damaging effect on the ISS.

“If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States and Europe?” the space chief tweeted on Friday.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk, in response to the comment, said his company would step in to assist the station. Nasa has said it would “make every effort to continue as before … [despite] disagreements between our countries”.

Reddit quarantines r/Russia

Tuesday 1 March 2022 22:00 , Adam Smith

Reddit also quarantined its r/Russia subreddit for spreading misinformation, as well as the smaller subreddit r/RussiaPolitics – merely days after it was created in to discuss the politics of the invasion.

“We are clear in our policies that moderators and users may not attempt to manipulate and interfere with the conversations or communities on our platform,” a Reddit spokesperson told Mashable.

“In line with these policies, we have quarantined r/Russia and r/RussiaPolitics and removed a moderator for acting in bad faith. We have connected directly with the remaining moderators to provide guidance and remind them of our policies. We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as needed.”

Russian VPN use has increased dramatically

Tuesday 1 March 2022 21:00 , Adam Smith

In order to get around internet restrictions, Russian users have been downloading VPNs in order to access content from other nations.

Data from Atlas VPN claims that installs have risen by 1,90 per cent over the last few days so that users can continue to use services unrestricted.

“The start of physical attacks in Ukraine on February 24 gave rise to the never-seen-before upsurge in VPN demand. VPN installs reached record heights one day after another”, the company states.

“On February 25, VPN installs rose by 24 per cent above the average. The next day, on February 26, VPN installs originating from Russia sky-rocketed by 1,076 per cent over the norm. Still, this was not the end, as the following day, VPN installs went off the charts, soaring 1,906 per cent higher than the mean.”

BItcoin overtakes the Russian Ruble

Tuesday 1 March 2022 20:00 , Adam Smith

The damage that Russia’s invasion has done to its economy has meant that digital currency bitcoin has overtaken it in value.

The cryptocurrency reached above $41,000 on Monday afternoon, according to CoinMarketCap’s price index, having traded below $35,000 as recently as Thursday.

The Ruble fell by around 25 per cent in that same time period, dropping below $0.01 on Monday to a new record low.

“In these uncertain times, we have seen an uptick in the utility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” Paolo Ardoino, CTO of the crypto exchange BitFinex, told The Independent.

“It goes without saying the defining characteristics of bitcoin allows it to act as a safe haven during turbulent times.”

TikTok takes action against Russia

Tuesday 1 March 2022 19:00 , Adam Smith

TikTok has also sanctioned pages or content posted by RT and Sputnik – something that could severely interfere with Russian disinformation.

In 2014, Russia flooded the internet with fake accounts pushing disinformation about its takeover of Crimea. Now, trolls and bots stir up anti-Ukrainian sentiment and it is unclear how close they are to the government.

“It could just be a patriotic Russian fighting the good fight as they see it, or it could easily be something directly affiliated with the state,” said Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation researcher and expert on Eastern Europe at the Wilson Center in Washington.

“Russia has been perfecting these tactics.”

YouTube bans Russian media

Tuesday 1 March 2022 18:00 , Adam Smith

As well as hackers, big tech companies have taken action against Russia.

Google has banned the YouTube channels of Russia Today and Sputnik in Europe.

“Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately,” Google said in a tweet.

“It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.”

Visitors to the channel saw a message reading: “This channel is not available in your country.” Similar messages appeared in countries across Europe.

Russian hackers’ cyberattacks on Ukraine could breach Geneva Conventions, Microsoft chief warns

Tuesday 1 March 2022 16:20 , Adam Smith

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith has said that Russia’s cyber attacks raise “serious concerns under the Geneva Convention”.

The attacks have been “precisely targeted”, with the company especially concerned about targets “including the financial sector, agriculture sector, emergency response services, humanitarian aid efforts, and energy sector organizations”

The Ukrainian government has also been warned about cyber attacks that could steal health, insurance, and transportation data that could personally identify citizens, Mr Smith went on.

However, while Microsoft says that the cyber attacks have been “offensive and destructive”, other experts have claimed they are “haphazard”.

“A plausible scenario for more devastating cyber-attacks was that Russia had planned this invasion for a long time, and prepositioned implants across Ukraine’s critical infrastructure in order to cause mass disruptions coinciding with the military invasion”, Dr Maschmeyer told The Guardian.

Devastating cyberattacks have “not played as large a component as some people thought it might and it definitely has not been seen outside of Ukraine to the extent that people feared,” said Michael Daniel, a former White House cybersecurity coordinator, but that the situation could “still change.”

Secret misinformation campaign is trying to trick people into using less secure messaging apps, Signal says

Tuesday 1 March 2022 13:34 , Adam Smith

A misinformation campaign is trying to trick people into using less secure messaging apps, encrypted chat platform Signal has said.

In recent days there have been a run of rumours attempting to suggest that the app has been “hacked and compromised” and that its security has been weakened, Signal said. But those rumours appear to be part of a messaging campaign aimed at encouraging people to stop using signal and move to less secure platforms, it said.

“We’ve had an uptick in usage in Eastern Europe & rumors are circulating that Signal is hacked & compromised. This is false. Signal is not hacked. We believe these rumors are part of a coordinated misinformation campaign meant to encourage people to use less secure alternatives,” the company wrote in a set of tweets.

“We’re seeing these rumors appear in messages forwarded on several different apps. These rumors are often attributed to official government sources and read ‘attacks on Signal platform.’ This is false and Signal is not under attack.”

Anonymous posts new message to Vladimir Putin

Tuesday 1 March 2022 11:31 , Adam Smith

A Twitter account representing the Anonymous hacking group has posted a new video directed at the Russian president.

“Mr Putin, the ongoing invasion of Ukraine has shown that your regime has no respect for human rights or the self determination of your neighbours”, it says.

“In the past several days a full scale invasion has commenced, civilian neighbourhoods have been bombed and innocent people have been killed. “Refugees are fleeing the violence and the population is being forced into conscription by Ukrainian officials.

“This is an ugly situation all around but you are the instigator.”

A ‘cyber free-for-all’ from Russia could still be launched on Ukraine

Tuesday 1 March 2022 11:30 , Adam Smith

So far, a massive attack on Ukraine’s digital infrastructure from Russia has not happened yet. Power plants and other critical infrastructure are still operational, despite Russia having a huge resource of hackers and online operatives such as the Internet Research Agency.

“It has not played as large a component as some people thought it might and it definitely has not been seen outside of Ukraine to the extent that people feared,” said Michael Daniel, a former White House cybersecurity coordinator. “Of course, that could still change.”

It is not clear why this has not happened; perhaps Russia believes that the impact is not serious enough, or that they could not do enough damage to Ukraine without collateral or knock-on effects for other nations.

Ukraine is currently being supported by a volunteer ‘IT Army’ in an attempt to help the country launch cyber attacks back at Russia.

What is inside the Conti leak?

Tuesday 1 March 2022 11:22 , Adam Smith

Marcus Hutchins, the British computer expert who helped shut down NHS cyberattack in 2017, has offered some insight into the scale of the Conti leak.

“This is the kind of stuff that almost never gets seen by anyone outside cybersecurity or law enforcement”, he tweeted, highlighting the billions the gang had made and an “unnamed journalist [that] offered to help Conti extort companies … in return for a 5% commission”

Russian ransomware hackers have secret chats exposed by Ukrainian leaker

Tuesday 1 March 2022 11:17 , Adam Smith

A ransomware cabal that pledged support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been hacked.

“If anybody will decide to organize a cyberattack or any war activities against Russia, we are going to use our all possible resources to strike back at the critical infrastructures of an enemy,” a blog post by the Conti hackers read.

Shortly after, a cache of chat logs belonging to the Conti ransomware gang leaked online by an insider who objected to their support of Vladimir Putin.

“Fuck the Russian government”, the leaker said in their message. “Glory to Ukraine!”

Russian media sites hacked by Anonymous again

Tuesday 1 March 2022 09:12 , Adam Smith

Russian media site Fontanka, state-owned news agency Tass and daily newspaper Kommersant were all hacked by Anonymous yesterday.

A message warning readers of “certain death” for troops in Ukraine was shared across their platforms.

The message on Fontaka read in full: “Dear citizens. We urge you to stop this madness, do not send your sons and husbands to certain death. 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. What is it for us?

“To put Putin in the textbooks? This is not our war, let’s stop it! This message will be deleted, and some of us will be fired or even jailed. But we can’t take it anymore.

“Indifferent journalists of Russia.”

Anonymous tweets message to Russian people

Monday 28 February 2022 22:30 , Adam Smith

Another high-profile Anonymous account has tweeted a reassuring message to the Russian people, following apparently false claims that they would hack citizens’ bank accounts if they failed to protest.

“To the people of Russia: We do not want to fight with you”, the account tweeted, in Russian.

“Understand that Putin has invaded a sovereign nation and the whole world is outraged. We know it’s risky to stand up to him, but if you don’t, then who will?”

Anonymous claims responsibility for 1,500 hacks

Monday 28 February 2022 21:51 , Adam Smith

The hacking group has claimed that it has carried out 1,500 cyber attacks on the Russian and Belarusian governments over the past three days, including attacks on state systems, banks, and broadcasters.

However, anonymity is a double-edged sword; it can be a boon to have so many people working for a collective aim, but that collectivism can also make the group unpredictable and many can claim to be working under its philosophy without actually doing so.

A Twitter account claiming to represent the group has had to denounce a fake Anonymous video that claimed it would withdraw money from Russian citizens’ bank accounts if they did not come out in protest of President Putin’s actions.

Meta sets up ‘special operations’ group to deal with Russian misinformation – and Russia fights back

Monday 28 February 2022 17:30 , Adam Smith

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, has launched a dedicated force to combat fake news on social media.

“The situation in Ukraine is devastating,” the company’s president of global affairs and the UK’s former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said.

“We’ve established a Special Operations Center, staffed by experts and native speakers, to respond in real time to remove hate speech or content that incites violence or otherwise breaks our rules.

However, in retaliation to the move, Russia limited access to Facebook.

Meta said that it would label the accounts of Russian-owned media outlets, but Russian authorities said that the restrictions were “censorship” and accused Facebook of violating the human rights of its citizens.

It is not clear what those restrictions, put out by the country’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor, will actually involve.

Ukraine’s ‘IT Army’ grows to fight against Russia

Monday 28 February 2022 17:00 , Adam Smith

Assisting in the rebellion against Russia, hundreds of thousands of people have joined an initative from the Ukrainian government to wage cyber attacks.

It suggested that it took down a technology used by Sberbank, one of Russia’s biggest banks. It has also indicated that it could have been behind attacks on other official websites.

The group has gained around 230,000 subscribers in the days since it was launched. Those who join are instructed to help with cyber attacks as well as other online efforts, including sending information to Belarus.

Anonymous encourages people to leave online reviews in Russia explaining situation in Ukraine

Monday 28 February 2022 16:59 , Adam Smith

A Twitter account representing Anonymous has suggested that people leave online reviews for restaurants and other businesses in Russia in order to raise awareness of the situation in Ukraine.

Google had also been put under pressure to remove pro-Russia propaganda from YouTube. It has since suspended several Russian media channels from generating revenue on the video service due to the “extraordinary” nature of the invasion. The channels suspended included the state-funded RT.

Russian media outlets have been accused of spreading misinformation in order to justify the country’s actions in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Boris Johnson said an attack on a kindergarten in Ukraine was a “false flag operation” by Russia which has been designed to “discredit” the Ukrainians. “We fear very much that that is a thing we will see more of over the next few days,” he added.

Russian media sites replaced with ‘tombstone’ for war dead in mass cyber attack

Monday 28 February 2022 16:15 , Adam Smith

Russian media sites, including TASS and Kommersant, were today replaced by a memorial for the war dead in a mass cyber attack.

The hackers appeared to associate themselves with Anonymous. The message included the number “5,300”, the number of Russian troops that Ukraine claims to have killed.

It also includes anti-war messages, suggesting that Vladimir Putin has begun the war to “get into the history books”.

Belarus’ rail network systems encrypted to stop Russia moving troops to Ukraine

Monday 28 February 2022 15:55 , Adam Smith

A group called the Cyber Partisans encrypted the data of parts of the Belarusian rail network, blocking trains in the cities of Minsk and Orsha, as well as the town of Osipovichi.

The hackers claimed that the attack was to “slow down the transfer” of troops moving from Belarus to northern Ukraine, saying that they had put the trains in “manual control” mode which would “significantly slow down the movement of trains, but will not create emergency situations.”

One former Belarus railway worker reportedly said that the systems in Minsk and Orsha had been “paralyzed”, but the situation remains unclear now. The Belarusian Railway did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

Vladimir Putin’s yacht renamed ‘FCKPTN’

Monday 28 February 2022 15:52 , Adam Smith

The group has also claimed an attack on the Russian president’s luxury yacht, renaming it “FCKPTN” by vandalising maritime tracking data.

The hackers then renamed its destination to “anonymous” and “anonleaks”, before finally settling on “hell”. They claimed that they wanted to put the yacht in the scope of sanction packages and ‘put a little smile on some faces for a short period in these dark times’.

Anonymous attacks Russian governments’ websites, banks, and broadcaster

Monday 28 February 2022 15:48 , Adam Smith

Among numerous attacks the hacking group Anonymous have made against Russia include claims of taking down state broadcaster RT, posting on Twitter that it took down the “propaganda station … in response to Kremlin’s brutal invasion”.

“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.

What is happening right now between Russia and Ukraine?

Monday 28 February 2022 15:46 , Adam Smith

The Independent is constantly reporting on the situation between the two nations – with peace talks currently ongoing between Russia and Ukraine, but with no certainty that the conflict could come to an end.

The Ukrainian president’s office said earlier that the goal of the talks was an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said 16 Ukrainian children have been killed and another 45 have been injured in recent rocket strikes to the Ukranian city of Kharkiv. He added that 4,500 Russian troops have also been killed.





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