How Hacktivism Helps Ukraine Fight Against Russian Invasionby@viceasytiger
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How Hacktivism Helps Ukraine Fight Against Russian Invasion

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Ukraine's IT Army was initiated by Ministry of Digital Transformation during the first hours of the war. Its goal is to combat Russian propaganda and brainwashing and undermine Russian people's trust in official sources such as federal TV channels. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian software engineers, cybersecurity specialists, hackers, marketers, and designers joined the IT Forces of Ukraine. As a result, more than half of the Ukraine IT Army's targeted sites faced partial or total outages in Russia, with more populace being confronted with forbidden truth about how Russian troops are slaying Ukraine's civilian population.

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Vik Bogdanov

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On Feb 23, I finished my day with many plans for tomorrow. But tomorrow turned out to be a far cry from what I expected. At 5 am on Feb 24, I woke up to the sounds of cruise missiles and shells hitting my beautiful Kyiv – the sounds I had only heard in the war movies before. That bloody noise literally pushed me out of my dreams into a new day full of horror, atrocities, and chaos. The day that Putin the Monster imposed on all of my fellow countrymen.


As I was packing my essentials, having no clue what to do next, my friends in Kharkiv were already hiding in the bomb shelters, shocked and frustrated.

I can't say, though, we were caught entirely off guard. Putin had been threatening our nation for several months before he dared to attack surreptitiously, the same way Nazi Germany attacked Soviet Ukraine early in the morning of June 22, 1941, without declaring war. Of course, we saw satellite pictures and heard multiple reports from the US and EU intelligence about more than 100,000 Russian troops building up along our border in the North, East, and South, preparing to invade Ukraine from all directions. Yet, we refused to believe this would actually happen. I guess that's how human psychology works – our mind tries to get rid of bad thoughts and forecasts even though the evidence is here. Hope is last to die, so we hoped till the last moment Putin was just bluffing and doubling down on a bet in his desire to keep Ukraine away from NATO and bring it back under Russian influence. But he wasn't.

As the war broke out, the knee-jerk reaction was to do something meaningful and useful to help my Army beat the enemy. Since martial law was implemented, banning all males aged 18-60 from leaving the country, I made a tough decision to stay in Kyiv and defend my country and my free future by all means. I have no military background or experience. I've never carried or shot a gun, so I'm really useless when it comes to armed defense. Yet, I decided to use my skills and abilities to fight at the information front. Joining the IT Army of Ukraine was a logical step following my decision.


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Ukraine's IT Army was initiated by our Ministry of Digital Transformation during the first hours of the war. Its goal is to combat Russian propaganda and brainwashing and undermine Russian people's trust in official sources such as federal TV channels calling the bloody invasion the "special operation for demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine." As a response to the call for cyber warriors, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian software engineers, cybersecurity specialists, hackers, marketers, and designers joined the IT Forces of Ukraine.


Our IT Army has an official channel on Telegram with more than 302,400 members (as of now). New tasks are added continuously several times a day.

Sending targeted DDoS attacks to disable Russian federal resources and media outlets, cracking Russian banks, stock exchange, payment systems, websites of huge corporations, and even ATMs, hacking fake-rich media to stream Ukrainian news and share the actual footage of the ruined cities and truth about the massive casualties among Russian soldiers (which is kept a closely guarded secret in Russian media) and debunking other myths cultivated by Putin's propaganda machine for years – these are just some of the examples of the missions we complete on the cyber front.

As a result, more than half of the Ukraine IT Army's targeted sites faced partial or total outages in Russia, with more populace being confronted with forbidden truth about how Russian troops are slaying Ukraine's civilian population and using a scorched land tactic to destroy and ruin our cities, including the Russian-speaking ones like Kharkiv, Mariupol or Sumy.

According to Chris Partridge, a Cloud security specialist at Amazon, 56% of targeted websites in Russia were down during the first days of the invasion. They include the Moscow Stock Exchange, Sberbank and BestChange, FSS, Roskomnadzor (the Holy Grail of propaganda and punishment for “Russian agenda” violations), websites of the President of Russia, State Duma (government), and so on.


"This is the first time we're seeing two countries which heavily rely on technology duking out a direct conflict," Partridge says.


Russia obviously fights back, cyber-attacking Ukraine and Western Internet properties. However, many experts have already acknowledged that Ukrainians outperform Russia on the cyber front by a wide margin.


Now, 13 days since the war broke out, Ukraine's IT Army is beginning to up its game. Traditionally, we've targeted the front door – public web applications of state-run companies and government agencies. However, since the effectiveness of DDoS attacks against sites typically declines over time, the missions become more sophisticated: targeting SIP servers used for internet-based voice calls is an example.

Hacktivism has become the blueprint for future cyber wars, leading to so much international involvement that it seems inevitable that future conflicts will attempt to embrace it.

What's really inspiring is that we, Ukrainians, aren't alone in our cyber fight against Russian aggression. As Ukrainian forces battle the invading Russian military, hackers worldwide unite their efforts to disrupt Russia's digital infrastructure (just like Western sanctions disrupt its economy).

Hacking groups such as Anonymous and Cyber ​​Partisans have claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on Russian banks, the state-owned broadcaster RT, and a Belarusian rail network (reportedly used to launch cruise missiles upon Ukraine).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-YttZJvTAM


Recently, the "biggest anonymous operation" ever seen was claimed as Russian news channels such as Rossiya 24, Channel One, and Moscow 24, including streaming sites, showed footage of Russia-caused atrocities in Ukraine. Given that almost 70% of Russians support Putin in his invasion of Ukraine and believe in his "good and peacemaking intentions," it's crucial to show them as much truth as possible to make them question their leadership actions. Hacktivism plays the leading role here.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M15L6ufzB0


As I'm writing this, I hear another air raid siren prompting me to go down to my house's basement used as a bomb shelter. It still remains unclear how long the bloodshed will last. However, it's already clear that Putin has failed in Ukraine. With such unprecedented international support, the unity of all Ukrainians, and our nation's technological prowess, there's no way we'll lose this epic fight with our existential enemy. Glory to Ukraine 🇺🇦!


**If you want to help Ukraine win our fight for freedom and protect European values and democracy, there are several options:
**

Direct donations to the Come Back Alive Foundation used to fund Ukraine's Armed Forces: www.comebackalive.in.ua

The National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special account to raise funds for the Ukrainian Army. Anyone from any country can donate!


The account is multi-currency. It is open for funds transfers from international partners and donors, any person, and from Ukrainian businesses and citizens.

🇺🇲 For donations in USD:

SWIFT Code NBU: NBUA UA UX

JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, New York

SWIFT Code: CHASUS33

Account: 400807238

383 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10179, USA

Bank account: UA843000010000000047330992708

🇬🇧 For donations in GBP:

SWIFT Code NBU: NBUA UA UX

Bank of England, London

SWIFT Code: BKENGB2L

Account: 40000982

Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH, UK

Bank account: UA843000010000000047330992708


🇪🇺 For donations in EUR:

SWIFT Code NBU: NBUA UA UX

DEUTSCHE BUNDESBANK, Frankfurt

SWIFT Code: MARKDEFF

Account: 5040040066

IBAN DE05504000005040040066

Wilhelm-Epsteinn-Strabe 14, 60431 Frankfurt Am Main,Germany

Bank account: UA843000010000000047330992708


Cryptocurrency donations:


BTC - 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P

ETH and USDT (ERC-20) - 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14

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