Anonymous Claims It Has ‘A Million Russian State Network Emails’ In Hack On Putin-Backing Media Company
The infamous hacker collective Anonymous has reportedly obtained hundreds of thousands of emails from a massive Russian media company that is thought to have a huge role in producing and distributing Kremlin propaganda throughout the country. They shared the leaks with the whistleblower site DDOSecrets, and its founder Katie Best announced that they have published all of the emails and that “transparency is coming to Russia, one leak at a time.”
#DDoSecrets has received the VGTRK (All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company) data and will release it in the near future.
Transparency is coming to Russia, one leak at a time. https://t.co/ZcbYnV9adR
— Emma Best 🏳️🌈🏴 (@NatSecGeek) March 27, 2022
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The company, which is the All-State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), is thought to be currently spreading misinformation about the Ukraine War to viewers in Russia. They operate almost 100 local TV networks and five national radio stations, giving them an unprecedented reach into homes all over Russia. A January 2017 article in The Moscow Times quoted Russian state security saying media conglomerates like VGRTK are essential for “security of the state.”
Along with publishing what apparently consists of “900,000 emails and 4,000 files from VGTRK,” DDOSecrets linked to statements by former VGTRK employees that claimed that Kremlin officials had heavy sway in the editorial voice of the company and that workers sometimes joked with each other that it’s “your turn to lie now.”
Journalists are still raking through the hundreds of gigabytes worth of files, but some have already shown a slightly-too-cozy relationship between the Kremlin and VGTRK going all the way up to Vladimir Putin. One email shared by Bellingcat reporter Aric Toler apparently shows VGTRK sending questions for approval before an interview with Putin and included a question asking the President if he had seen the crime film Brother 2 (Brat 2 in Russian). Toler mentions sarcastically that the questions are “some real hardballs.”
List of questions that they sent for Putin, some real hardballs in here. The last question is “By 2000, the country was tired of humiliation and wanted truth. Then: Brat-2 was released. Have you watched it? You’d say power is in what?” [Power in truth is the movie’s famous line] pic.twitter.com/XK6OrUaeAg
— Aric Toler (@AricToler) April 6, 2022
Anonymous has turned its sights on Russia in the wake of news of increased attacks on Ukrainian citizens by Russian soldiers, including a massacre in the city of Bucha. They had previously carried out a hack against Russian soldiers in early March that saw thousands of soldiers’ personal information being leaked publicly.
They have also reportedly been attempting to breach and disable government and news websites, and are reaching out to Russian citizens to teach them how to resist government censorship by installing free spyware on their devices. Anonymous has stated that “The hacking will continue until Russia stops their aggression.”
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