The website of the state-run TV channel Russia Today—or RT—was inaccessible for hours on Thursday and early Friday. The company said that it was a victim of a cyberattack.
On Friday, an RT spokesperson told Motherboard in an email that “after a statement by [hacker collective] Anonymous, RT’s websites became the subject of massive DDoS attacks from some 100 million devices, mostly based in the U.S. Due to the attacks there might be temporary website access limitations for some users, yet RT is promptly resolving these issues.”
A DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, is an attack in which hackers direct an overwhelming amount of bogus traffic to a target website with the goal of overloading it and rendering it inaccessible.
It’s unclear which particular statement the RT spokesperson was referring to. A Twitter account purporting to represent Anonymous wrote on Thursday that “The #Anonymous collective has taken down the website of the #Russian propaganda station RT News.”
Do you have more information about this outage? Or similar cases of cyberattacks in Ukraine and Russia? We’d love to hear from you. From a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, Wickr/Telegram/Wire @lorenzofb, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By definition, Anonymous has always been a nebulous group, with several Twitter accounts claiming to speak for the group. At this point, it’s unclear if the group is responsible for the takedown.
At the time of writing, RT.com was back up, and a loading screen showed it had engaged a DDoS protection firm to screen visitors and protect against bogus traffic.
The attack on RT.com is the latest in a recent string of DDoS attacks. In mid-February, the Ukrainian and U.S. government blamed the Russian government for taking down some Ukrainian government and two banks' websites.