Russian Hackers Need Help So Much They’re Offering Bounties

A collective of Russian hacktivists wants to rally more people to carry out attacks, promising financial rewards. Until then, the damage caused by their operations is minimal.

Russian hacktivists are looking for reinforcements to harm Western administrations and companies. A Telegram group was even launched in September 2022 to pay those who give them a hand. Like the majority of politicized hacker groups, the bulk of operations boils down to carrying out denial of service attacks, or DDoS attacks.

As a reminder, this type of offensive is the easiest way to disrupt a site. The hacker collective even provides a free access kit to install software linked to a network of infected devices. Their connection is then diverted to sites that the criminals have designated as targets.

Hobbyist hackers add their cryptocurrency wallet and receive money to participate in DDoS attacks, with the payment commensurate with the firepower they provide. The best contributors to each attack wave receive 80,000 rubles (1,295 euros), the second 50,000 rubles (809 euros), and the third is paid 20,000 rubles (324 euros).

Rewards were offered after DDoS attacks against several US airport sites in early October. The sponsor of the operation was the Killnet group, the main group of Russian hacktivists.

Telegram groups are used to give out prizes for awards, name winners of the month and vent their hatred of Ukrainians.

Russian hackers are understaffed

The group behind the project is different, as it is NoName057(16), another team of political hackers. During three months of monitoring, between June and September, the cybersecurity company Avast concluded that NoName057(16) participated in DDoS attacks against Ukrainian organizations, but only succeeded in 40% of its attacks. DDoS attacks are often publicized but do not cause any real damage, except disrupt the consultation of a site for several hours.

This process does not honor the Russian hackers, it rather highlights a lack of personnel and participation in their activities. For comparison, Killnet has 90,000 members on its Telegram group compared to over 200,000 for the Ukrainian hacktivist collective, Computer Army of Ukraine. The latter is also very activist and on November 9 published several documents stolen from the Russian national bank on Telegram.

The reward project launched by NoName057(16) brings together 800 members on this same network. It is recalled that participating in a denial of service attack is punishable by law. According to article 323-2 of the Penal Code, “obstructing or distorting the operation of an automated data processing system is punishable by a penalty of five years imprisonment and 150,000 euros in fine”.

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