The days of the shadow war are over. After 300 days of the Russia-Ukraine war, Australia experienced its first pro-Russian hacktivist attack. Anonymous Russia has listed an Australian company as its target, giving clear indications of increasing its coverage APAC area.
The hackers claimed to have defaced the website of Sydney-based real estate business Meadan Homes among others, as a target. The website of the company appeared restored at the time of publishing this article. Although seemingly small, this Australian business is among the first in the country that a Russian group has explicitly targeted.
— CyberKnow (@Cyberknow20) December 22, 2022
Anonymous Russia and ‘Russophobic’ countries
Anonymous Russia” popped up after March 2022 as a Russian retort to the international collective of pro-Ukraine hackers formed in alliance with Anonymous. Cyber attacks on various firms of pro-Ukraine firms intensified since then.
Explicit attacks were limited to the US and Euopean targets. Killnet, the most vocal of them, claimed the cyberattacks on Skylink in November, and later the websites of the White House and the European Parliament.
“We believe that those responsible for the breach are in Russia. Our intelligence points to a group of loosely affiliated cyber criminals, who are likely responsible for past significant breaches in countries across the world. These cyber criminals are operating like a business, with affiliates and associates who are supporting the business,” said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw, at a press meet after the Medibank breach.
Russia promptly denied the allegations.
However, chatter on various dark web forums aggregated by The Cyber Express suggest that Anonymous Russia appears to have shifted from targeted attacks to attacking random websites in ‘Russophobic’ countries such as Australia and Brazil.
Australia, Ukraine, and cyber-attacks
Australia has been providing political and military support to Ukraine since the Russian invasion started in March 2022. The defence ministry in October declared that Australia will join countries providing critical training to Ukrainian troops, without openly taking part in the offensive.
Australia provided Ukraine with a total of approximately $655 million in support, including $475 million in military assistance, till October 2022.
“Australia has been unequivocal in its bipartisan support for Ukraine and its condemnation of President Putin,” prime minister Anthony Albanese declared then. This is a not just about Ukraine’s sovereignty; the brave people of Ukraine are defending international law, rules and norms.”