Activism

Hacker group Anonymous take over Russian state TV with footage of Ukraine invasion

“We are involved in the biggest Anonymous op ever seen” online activist group Anonymous said after hacking Russia's state-controlled TV stations.

Footage of a hacked Russian television

Online ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous took over Russian state TV to broadcast footage from the war in Ukraine.

“The hacking collective Anonymous hacked Russian streaming services Wink and Ivi (like Netflix) and live TV channels Russia 24, Channel One, Moscow 24 to broadcast war footage from Ukraine [today],” The masked hackers tweeted, with a 38-second video of someone’s Russian TV being taken over with hand-held footage of the invasion.

The group, made up of activists from around the world, said it was the “biggest Anonymous op ever seen”.

The footage showed a message at the end, stating “ordinary Russians are against the war”, and called for Russians to oppose the attack on Ukraine.

This operation follows a host of anti-war stunts from Anonymous, which include hacking more than 2,500 government websites, including Russian and Belarusian banks, state broadcaster RT, and a Belarusian rail network, agencies and newspapers.

The group has also asked people to leave fake Google reviews to tell Russians what’s really happening, and for Belarusian partisans to set fire to a Russian control station to ensure tanks and equipment couldn’t be used to further invade Ukraine.

In a public message to Putin the group also stated: “If you continue on this path, you will continue to lose support among Russian citizens.” It added: “Soon you will feel the full wrath of the world’s hackers, many of whom reside from your home country.”

The stunts are aiming to infiltrate state-censored narratives that dominate the Russian media. 

Since the invasion began 12 days ago, Russia has restricted access to social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and the BBC has also been blocked. Nick Clegg, president of Global Affairs of Meta, formerly Facebook, said: “Soon millions of ordinary Russians will be cut off from reliable information.”

A “fake news” law has also been passed by the lower chambers of Russia’s parliament. It threatens anyone publishing what authorities deem to be false information about the invasion with a 15-year prison sentence.

As a result, Tiktok and Netflix suspended parts of their service in Russia.

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