'Putin makes us lie': Anonymous hack Russian state controlled news agency over Ukraine invasion

'Putin makes us lie': Anonymous hack Russian state controlled news agency over Ukraine invasion
The informal hackers' collective Anonymous has claimed responsibility for hundreds of cyberattacks targeting Russian and Belarusian websites in recent days.
2 min read
28 February, 2022
Russia's state-owned news channels and agencies, including Russia Today and TASS, have been targeted for their role in sharing disinformation about the war in Ukraine [MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty]

Russia's state-owned agency TASS was targeted by hackers on Monday, part of a long list of official and pro-government websites targeted over Moscow's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Informal hackers group Anonymous were said to be behind the action against the state-controlled site, which is one of many local outlets publishing stories supporting Russia's unprovoked assault on Ukraine that started Thursday, killing scores of civilians.

"Putin makes us lie and puts us in danger," TASS' hacked site read on Monday morning. 

"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."

The text was followed by the logo of Anonymous, an informal transboundary hackers' collective that declared a 'cyber war' against the Russian government on Thursday following President Vladimir Putin's unilateral decision to invade Ukraine earlier that day.

So far, the group has claimed credit for hacking up to 300 Russian websites since the start of the war - including the database of the Russian ministry of defence.

Among its main targets are Russian news outlets, whose pro-Putin coverage of the war in Ukraine has been widely decried outside of the country. The group managed to bring down the website of government-controlled Russia Today and to hack several state TV channels, posting images from the war in Ukraine.

The collective also claimed responsibility for taking down the websites of leading Belarusian banks, including Belarusbank, Priorbank and Belinvestbank. Belarus has been a key ally of Russia in the war.

Although the secretive, informal nature of Anonymous make it difficult to definitively attribute each hack to the group.

Recent attacks against the Russian government are in line with its tradition of targeting "repressive" institutions and figures of authority. In recent years, its hackers have targeted the CIA, the Church of Scientology, the Syrian regime and Islamic State group.