The group of hackers known as Anonymous on Wednesday kept its promise to join the people of Russia in their protest march by temporarily shutting down the Kremlin website, the official online page for President Vladimir Putin. Photo credit: YouTube video screenshot
The group of activist hackers known as Anonymous on Wednesday kept its promise to join the protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin by temporarily shutting down the Kremlin website, the official online page of the presidency.
The disruption on the government's information website came two days after Putin was sworn in anew as president. Putin, who won the election in March, is serving his third run as head of state.
The beginning of another six-year term for Putin led to street protests earlier this week. Reports are that riot police beat protesters over the head with batons and that more than 400 were arrested on Sunday when thousands rallied against the government in Moscow.
Anonymous uploaded a YouTube video on May 4 warning that they were going to take part in the May 6 protest by taking down Kremlin government resources. The hacktivist group said that the first target would be the official government website.
Said government having been assembled by way of lies and electoral fraud, we ask for your help in this operation, Anonymous said in the video. Remember these politicians steal from us, imprison random innocent people while using law enforcement authorities as their lapdogs and they get away with it.
The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday that the website Kremlin.ru was unavailable for almost an hour starting around 11 a.m. It also reported that Russian news agency Interfax said the group immediately claimed responsibility for the temporary shutdown.
A representative for the Kremlin's Internet service confirmed with Interfax that the attack did happen and that other government sites were attacked as well, The Moscow Times reported.
We are very serious about these threats and are fully prepared, the representative said. They are serious attacks, but the expertise of our professionals is not a joke.
Internet users in Russia told Reuters that they weren't able to access Kremlin.ru for several minutes.
A Kremlin Internet security spokesman told Reuters that the relevant departments are taking the necessary steps to counter the attacks.
This is routine work, the spokesman said. There is always some external influence. Today we are witnessing a splash of activity. ... They failed to achieve their goal.
The approximately 50,000 protesters who gathered in the streets of Moscow alleged that voting was rigged.
These people have completely discredited such words as democracy, law and freedom of speech, Anonymous said of the Russian government. It will take just a few simple steps to take the wrong and corrupt regime to its fall. This system will destroy itself. It just needs a proper kick to do so.
The attack this week isn't the first Anonymous carried out on the Kremlin. According to Reuters, the group hacked into the emails of a pro-Kremlin youth organization earlier this year. That attack was said to be in response to increasing hacker assaults by pro-government groups on independent news outlets and opposition bloggers.
Watch the Anonymous video below: