Mar 17, 2022 - World

Russian government websites face "unprecedented" level of hacking

Computer search engine with ".ru"

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Russian government websites and state media are facing an "unprecedented" level of hacking attempts, the Washington Post reported.

Why it matters: Since the start of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Russia has passed a new "fake news" law and blocked social media networks like Facebook in order to clamp down on the ability of regular Russians to get unfiltered information about the war.

State of play: "We are recording unprecedented attacks on the websites of government authorities," Russia's Ministry of Digital Development and Communications said in a statement Thursday, per the Post.

  • The hacking attacks have also been significantly more powerful than similar ones in the past.
  • "If their capacity at peak times reached 500 GB earlier, it is now up to 1 TB. That is, two to three times more powerful than the most serious incidents of this type previously recorded," the statement added.
  • As a result, Russian regulators have begun filtering traffic coming from abroad. The statement did not elaborate on what specific measures had been taken, the Post reported.

The big picture: In a hack that occurred Wednesday, the perpetrators targeted the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's website. They replaced the department's hotline with a number for Russian soldiers to use if they want to defect from the army called "Come back from Ukraine alive," according to the Post.

  • Hackers also altered the top news items on the ministry's home page to: "Don’t believe Russian media — they lie" and "Default in Russia is near." They also added a link that offers "full information about the war in Ukraine," per the Post.
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