International hacktivist collective Anonymous claims to have remotely accessed unsecured printers across Russia to print out “anti-propaganda” messages about the Ukraine conflict.
“We have been printing anti-propaganda and Tor installation instructions to printers all over [Russia] for 2 hours, and printed 100,000+ copies so far. 15 people working on this op as we speak,” the hacktivist group tweeted.
speaking to the International Business Timesa member of the collective said the group is instructing Russians how to install Tor, an open-source internet browser that could allow Anonymous to communicate with them for future updates.
“We hacked printers all across Russia and printed this PDF explaining that Putin/Kremlin/Russian media is lying and then we instructed how to install Tor and get around their censorship to access real media,” a member of the collective, who goes by the Twitter handle @DepaixPorteur, told IBT.
“We’re currently launching a printer attack on 156 [Russian] printers. Already over 40,000+ copies,” the member tweeted.
A Google Lens translation revealed the document urged Russian citizens to “stop terrorist[s].”
“Putin killing over thousands in Ukraine. The people of Russia must find horror in Putin’s actions,” the translation read.
“Protest Putin’s illegal war and spread the truth about his lies… Fight for your heritage and honour. Overthrow Putin’s corrupt system that steals from your pockets,” it said.
The hacktivist collective has carried out several cyber attacks on Russia since the country invaded Ukraine on 24 February.
Earlier this month, Anonymous hacked several streaming services and TV news channels in Russia to broadcast footage of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The hacking collective [Anonymous] hacked into the 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],” it announced in early March on Twitter amid the Kremlin’s heavy clampdown on anti-war protests and information about the war.
The actions by Anonymous come amid the Russian parliament’s approval of a law that makes it a criminal offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison to spread what the Kremlin deems to be “fake” news about the Ukraine invasion, which it refers to only as to “special military operation”.
The collective had hacked Russian media sites last month, displaying a message warning readers of “certain death” for troops in Ukraine.
“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,” the home page for Fontanka, a news outlet based in St Petersburg, read.
Representatives of the hacktivist group told The Independent earlier in March that they were planning a number of new attacks including breaching and leaking databases, defacing websites and ordering pizzas.
With the collective not having a leadership or organizational structure, representatives said 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.”
Anonymous had also told IBT that it is working on a data dump that would “blow Russia away”.
The country’s invasion of Ukraine, currently on day 27, has led to the killing of over 900 civilians as of Monday, with at least 1,496 civilians injured, the UN Human Rights Office said in a statement.
However, the actual numbers could be “considerably higher” since “the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration,” the UN noted.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.