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Anonymous claims it hacked Russian Central Bank, releases thousands of files as proof

The hacker group declared a cyberwar against Russia in response to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.

The hacker group ‘Anonymous’ claimed that it has hacked the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBRF) in a tweet posted by the handle ‘Anonymous TV’ on March 24. Two days later, the group posted links on Twitter to 35,000 files (28GB in size), purportedly containing secret bank documents that were offered as proof of the hack.

These documents will reveal confidential information about oligarch financial dealings with the CBRF, accurate Russian Federation (RF) economic statistics that the Kremlin keeps from the RF public, secret international trade agreements, conference videos, and operating system programs used by the CBRF, Anonymous revealed in a video statement.

The Russia-Ukraine war has exposed how technology impacts such geopolitical conflicts, especially in regards to cyber-warfare. On February 27, shortly after the Russian invasion began, Anonymous declared cyberwar against Russia. “You (Russian President Vladimir Putin) will expect the wrath of the world’s hackers,” it had said in a video.

Cyberspace has emerged as another frontier of the war

While Russia has said that it does not use hackers to go after its enemies, Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has been  tracking “activity from a range of threat actors” belonging to Russia and Belarus targeting Ukraine from mid-February. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov has created a Telegram link for “digital talent” to join and fight the war on the cyber front.

Phishing attempts against Ukrainians: TAG has been issuing hundreds of warnings to Ukrainians about cyberattacks, mostly emanating from Russia-backed groups, over the last 12 months. These attacks have been taking place through:

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  • Phishing campaigns targeting users of a Ukrainian media company — UkrNet.
  • Phishing campaigns conducted in the past week against Polish and Ukrainian government and military organisations,
  • Phishing campaign containing malicious attachments with file names such as ‘Situation at the EU borders with Ukraine.zip’ with European Entities.

Malware deployed against Ukrainians: Hermetic Wiper, a disk-wiping malware was also used against Ukraine, making several of its banks and government departments inaccessible shortly before the war started, according to cybersecurity and antivirus companies Symantec and ESET. According to Symantec, Hermetic Wiper damages the Master Boot Record (MBR) of an infected computer, which makes it unable to start up.

Protection from Belarusian-linked Ghostwriter: Meta said that it is rolling out privacy and security measures to help people in Ukraine and Russia protect their accounts from being targeted by Ghostwriter, a threat actor linked to the Belarusian government.

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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