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Anonymous hijacks Russian broadcasts with footage of Ukraine war

The hacking group said it managed to manipulate the broadcasts of three major Russian state-backed media organisations

The Anonymous hacking group executed another major cyber attack in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this weekend, claiming it hijacked Russian broadcasters and showed war footage from inside Ukraine.

The hacking collective announced the attack late Sunday evening, saying it was able to manipulate broadcasts on TV channels such as Russia 24, Channel One, and Moscow 24, in addition to streaming services Wink and Ivi.

Anonymous’ Twitter account made the announcement, and also shared footage that appears to show the hijacked broadcasts appearing on televisions in Russia. 

It’s unclear if Anonymous hacked the broadcasters in question or were able to manipulate the broadcasts by other means, such as interrupting smart TV streams.

“We are #Anonymous. We are involved in the biggest Anonymous op ever seen,” the group tweeted Monday morning. “That being said, we are worried that some governments will indeed see us as a threat and create some scenario to make us look bad (false flag). We only want peace, not war.

“We abhor violence. We are anti-war. We are against police brutality. We have raised our fists in the air to stand against aggressors time and time again. We would never choose to hurt anyone physically. Understand this and know this if any government says otherwise.”

Anonymous also took credit for taking down Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on Saturday too, posting a screenshot of its website not being able to connect.  

The hack aimed to show the reality of the war to the people of Russia after the country’s regime effectively outlawed independent journalism last week, imposing a maximum jail sentence of 15 years for spreading what it calls ‘misinformation’, and has made numerous attempts to spread falsehoods about the country’s intentions with its efforts. 

Videos supposedly showing a Russian prisoner of war, circulating online in recent days, have shown the soldiers were misled about the situation in Ukraine. The government allegedly told its troops that Ukraine was being occupied by a fascist, Nazi-like regime and they were being sent to help the situation, not cause it.

Access to outside information is slowly closing for Russia’s citizens as the country aims to control the narrative of the war.

The Kremlin blocked access to Facebook and Twitter recently after it said the sites were blocking Russian state-backed media. 

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Legitimate news sources like BBC News have been restricted too, though people in Russia are still able to access such websites via the TOR browser and onion mirrors. 

Reporters from British news organisations have been forced to cease their coverage of the war as a result of the Kremlin’s ‘fake news’ law. In addition to a hostile legal environment for journalists, Sky News reporters also reported being shot at by Russian forces despite them making it clear they were from the press.

Journalists sustained gunshot wounds as a result of the ambush, an act that is considered a war crime under international law.

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