Belarus Hackers Thwart Russian War
It’s a well-known fact that Belarus has sided with Russia in the invasion of Ukraine, but what about ordinary civilians, some of which might be elite, activist hackers? ‘Hacktivist’ group ‘Cyber Partisans’ has an answer to that.
On Sunday, trains were forced to stop in the cities of Orsha and Minsk, as well as the town of Osipovichi, after dark web hackers compromised the railway system’s routing and switching devices, rendering them inoperable by encrypting data stored on them. The Belarusian hackers are said to have accessed computers that operate the country’s trains and ground several to a halt as part of an effort to impede Russian troops marching into Ukraine.
As a result, several websites linked to Belarus’ rail network returned faulty warnings. A former Belarus railway worker who runs a popular Telegram channel for railway workers in the nation said that train systems in both Minsk and Orsha had been “paralyzed.” This claim has been backed up with civilians on Belarusian internet forums reporting disruptions to trains in Minsk.
Belarusian Hackers Help Ukraine
According to the Cyber Partisans hacking group, the goal of the strike was to “slow down the transit” of Russian forces from bases in Belarus into northern Ukraine, giving Ukrainians more time to fight Russia’s attacks on the country. The dark web hackers managed to force the train system into “manual control” mode, which “substantially slows down the movement of trains but does not generate emergencies.”
Despite the intrusion being short-lived, other systems were not operational, and external train network websites were unavailable. However, The Cyber Partisans’ fight did not begin here, but in late January when the hacking group attacked the state-owned Belarusian Railway and encrypted the majority of the company’s servers, databases, and workstations. The dark web hacktivist group had even attacked the Belarusian government and several police entities.
‘Cyber Partisans’ Crippling War
Just last year the hacking group released a data trove that included secret police archives, lists of alleged police informants, personal information about top government officials and spies, video footage from police drones and detention centers, and secret recordings of phone calls from a government wiretapping system.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with Belarus’ support is what ultimately led the dark web hackers to concentrate their efforts on disrupting Russian military movements.
Throughout the conflict, the Ukrainian government has actively sought the support of volunteer hackers – now they have the support they need – Even from enemy territory – Belarus. On social media, groups of technology experts and others with computing expertise have banded together to identify Russian websites and officials to target with cyber attacks. The Cyber Partisans is one group among many.