We are currently witnessing a new phenomenon of popular uprising against governments in some post-Soviet Union countries. More and more citizens are forming active groups to protest against government corruption, the licentiousness of officials and government policy on various issues. Alongside these opposition groups in the physical world, anti-government campaigns and the struggle for human rights and democracy, we have identified a similar struggle in the realm of cyberspace.
The Anonymous Russia group regularly publishes leaked data from the hacked databases of buyers of elite watches and luxury housing in various Russian cities. These consumers include numerous state officials. The group additionally hacks the email conversations of Russian officials, thus stealing other sensitive information regarding government policy and actions. This information typically includes personal information regarding the victim – passport numbers, telephone numbers, addresses, etc.
In light of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, more and more hacktivist groups are taking action against Russian policy in Ukraine. Anonymous Russia claims it is exposing information regarding the presence of Russian fighters on Ukrainian soil, to raise public awareness of Russian Government policy. The information includes official documents and leaked emails. Beside the Russian government itself, the group is targeting organizations that support Russian policy, as well as those not actively opposing it. Thus, during operation #OpCrimea (#ОПКРЫМ), Russian hackers stole a database that included the personal information of people from Kerch – a city in eastern Crimea – “Because they have not defended their city and they have sold out to Putin.”
On the group’s official website, you can ask for help from Anonymous Russia, report any illegal activities by officials in your region, offer your help, or support the project. The team accepts financial support for the project and gladly converts any monetary contributions to Yandex, WMR or WMZ wallets.
Many activists groups fundraise for “justified activity.” Such actions encompass a variety of fields – hacktivist, jihadi and other groups united by certain causes. These groups are usually totally dependent on their supporters for funds.
A new trend dubbed crowdfunding in the field of fundraising has become very popular among NGO organizations, artists and other social projects. Crowdfunding is a new method of commerce and patronage. This is not an investment or a loan of any kind and the fundraisers usually state the purpose of the project. People who are interested in supporting such a project are welcome to donate whatever sum they wish.
We have not seen the Crowdfunding fundraising method before now in cyberspace. Recently, the Anonymous Ukraine group posted a request for help on the popular Russian-language social network VKontakte. The group acts against the Russian government, the Ukrainian opposition and organizations and media that support pro-Russian policy in Ukraine. Their main activity vector is DDoS attacks on media websites. Alongside their successes, there are many failed attempts. Notwithstanding, the group appealed for financial help from supporters to purchase a botnet that purportedly increases the effectiveness of attacks. For this purpose, Anonymous Ukraine used Crowdfunding to raise 1200 Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH).