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On Soviet Internet, Anonymous Targets Putin

They call it OpDefiance (or Operation Defiance), and on Wednesday Anonymous pushed forward in their continual acts of defiance by targeting the website of Russia’s on-again-off-again president, Vladimr Putin.

On Wednesday morning, Anonymous made good on their promise and attacked the Kremlin’s website, knocking it offline for a more than an hour. In addition, the FSB’s website was targeted, although the domain remained online throughout the attack. On Twitter, the Op_Russia account announced the DDoS with the familiar “TANGO DOWN” notice, including links to a monitoring service confirming the outage.

Anonymous Targets Putin with DDoS Attacks“We received threats from Anonymous several days ago but we can’t confirm it’s exactly this group that attacked the Kremlin.ru website,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“Unfortunately we live at a time when technology security threats have mounted, but we have the means to resist them.”

Additionally, during the outages and sporadic follow-up DDoS actions by those supporting Anonymous, a spokesperson within the Kremlin’s Internet Security division said that they were taking the necessary measures to counteract the attacks.

The DDoS attacks come at a time of growth within the populous that holds an anti-Putin sentiment. On Monday, as the president launched his third term, some 50,000 people took to the streets to protest. For their part, Anonymous has been actively working against the pro-Kremlin movement since February.

Previously, SecurityWeek covered some of the Internet-based actions of those supporting and protesting the elections in Russia and the political climate. Those reports can be seen here and here.  

It’s worth noting that several Russian media outlets also came under DDoS attack on Wednesday, although Anonymous did not claim those attacks as their own. Speculation says, given that they were mostly anti-Kremlin news portals, that the government itself launched those attacks.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.