Activist hackers to attack Russian websites over Putin election
The activist hacker group Anonymous last night announced plans to attack Russian government websites in support of opposition protests ahead of Vladimir Putin's inauguration as president.
In a YouTube video that went viral, the Russian arm of the group said it would shut down the government's main website tomorrow, when protesters plan to stage a million-strong march in central Moscow.
This will be followed by an attack on the prime minister's website on Monday -- the day of Mr Putin's inauguration -- said the message, which included instructions.
Mr Putin convincingly won a six-year presidential term in March despite a wave of protests following a December parliamentary poll which the opposition said was tarnished by large-scale voting fraud.
The mass rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities did not stop Putin returning to the presidency but they did strip the ex-KGB chief of the aura of invincibility that has characterised his 12-year rule, first as president then as prime minister.
"On May 6, there will be mass demonstrations against the illegitimate elections. We will support this protest by shutting down the lying government's sites," Anonymous said.
Anonymous hacked into the emails of a pro-Kremlin youth organisation earlier this year, in what it said was a response to a growing number of hacker attacks by pro-government groups on independent news outlets and opposition bloggers.
Both sides are turning to increasingly accessible technology that can be used for hacking to find more and more people willing and able to carry out cyber attacks, according to a recent report from Britain-based human rights advocacy website OpenDemocracy.
Moscow has called for a globally binding UN treaty on cyber security to crack down on web crime.
Western countries have balked at the proposal but highly-publicised attacks by hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec have highlighted the internet's vulnerabilities.