The protests have been heard worldwide against Vladimir Putin as he invades Ukraine, including from within Russia. In recent days descent towards the Russian leader has grown with his own people turning against his regime.
As Ukraine faces a fifth day of invasion by Russian forces, the Russian people are sending a message of defiance to their leader. As one Russian citizen, Elena Lelievre, told reporters, ‘I am against this war. I hope this is the beginning of the end of this regime.’
While protests continue on the ground, war is waging against Russia from all sides including a cyberwar at the hands of ‘hacktivists’ Anonymous.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonOne) February 24, 2022
So far the group has taken credit for multiple cyber incidents including bringing down government websites and that of Russia Today, the state backed news outlet. As of Sunday the webpages for the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defence remained down.
Anonymous also hacked into the ministry of Defence database and Russian state television channels where they posted pro-Ukrainian content including playing Ukraines national anthem and images from invasions.
Someone hacked into Russian state TV channels. They feature Ukrainian music and national symbols. 🇺🇦
— BECZKA ✌️ (@beczka_tv) February 26, 2022
The latest hack being attributed to Anonymous is on Russia’s TASS news agency which displayed an anti-Putin message. It read:
‘We urge you to stop this madness, do not send your sons and husbands to certain death, Putin is forcing us to lie and is putting us in danger…It’s not our war, let’s stop him!’
The TASS webpage is currently unavailable, presumably while they try to remove the message.
The cyber involvement in the conflict is mounting, Elon Musk has provided satellite internet access to the Ukraine via his Starlink satellites. This came about after Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted Musk asking him to provide the country with access to Starlink.
@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
Fedorov did not disclose the reason the Ukraine government wanted access to the Starlink service. Ukraine has suffered multiple cyberattacks since President Putin ordered the invasion but the country’s internet services have reportedly remained mostly active and stable.
Facebook is also taking a stand against Russia: The Russian government went so far as to accuse the social network of censoring state-backed media on the platform and in response Facebook banned adverts from Russian state media.
Related Articles: Russian Invasion of Ukraine: What Next? | UPDATES 28.02 – Ukraine-Russia War: The News as it Develops
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has set up a Special Operations Center to respond to military conflict in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government actively sought international donations of cryptocurrency via a tweet sent from Ukraines official account: So far Elliptic has reported that the addresses listed in the tweets have received $13 million across 17,451 transactions.
Stand with the people of Ukraine. Now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT.
BTC – 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P
ETH and USDT (ERC-20) – 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 26, 2022
The EU also played a role in the cyberwar against Russia, as EU leaders banned the ‘Kremlin’s media machine’.
They closed the entirety of EU airspace to Russian planes, including private jets used by oligarchs, and banned Russian state media outlets. Speaking beside EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Russia Today and Sputnik “will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our union”.
Russia has a long established history of cyber harassment and until this point the west had taken little action against it. At this time cyber is playing an active role in the conflict and it may be one of the best ways allies in the West can get involved and feel as though they are contributing to the defence of Ukraine.
Celebrities have also gotten involved in using the media to show their support.
Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev wrote ‘no war please’ on the camera lens after winning a match.
Before the Carabao Cup final, which was broadcast as Sky Sports main event, Chelsea and Liverpool players stood together as the message ‘Football Stands Together’ was displayed on a Ukrainian Flag on the big screen.
Famous faces including Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Bethenny Frankel are pledging millions of dollars to aid Ukrainian refugees. Funds from their efforts will go towards the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which said it will send lifesaving aid to Ukrainian families in need.
A cyberwar is happening but we will have to wait and see if it assists the Ukraine in the very real war they are facing with Russia. Only time will tell how effective it is, but one thing is certain: This is the first time in history that we are witnessing cyber warfare on this scale and what is happening now in Ukraine is setting a precedent.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — Featured Photo: ‘Hacktivist’ Anonymous Symbol created in computer code. Photo Credit: TheDigitalArtist