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Putin's intel agencies lose internet, Ukraine IT Army takes claim


Moscow’s main internet provider, Akado Telecom, has been reported down for a third time since December, allegedly knocking out wifi access for several of Moscow's government agencies, Putin’s administration, his presidential security unit the FSO, and the shadowy intel agency the FSB, among others.

The attacks have reportedly caused widespread outages and internet services to go down for numerous government entities and banking infrastructure, and it appears Akado is a repeat customer of the Ukrainian hacktivist group.

The IT Army of Ukraine claimed responsibility for the three-day long distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Akado, posting about the hack on its official Telegram channel Tuesday.

“Remember AKADO - the reliable internet provider for the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, the Moscow and Moscow Region Administration, FSO, FSB, GUVD, GIBDD, the Department of Information Technology of Moscow, Sberbank?,” its Telegram post said in both Ukrainian and English.

“The one we took down on December 30th and then again on January 4th? Today, we brought it down for the third time!!!,” the group boasted.

“Some of the consumers have been without internet for three days now, and they write on forums that it's like this all over Moscow. The howling in the marshes seems to be ceasing to be a metaphor,” the post ended.

Ukraine IT Army Telegram Akado attack

Akado offers services to medium and small businesses, large companies, telecom operators, government agencies, budgetary organizations and individuals, the telecom's online company profile states.

To note, Sberbank is certainly no stranger to cyber threats. The Russian state-owned bank has said it has observed over 100,000 thousand leaks of Sberbank cards, as well as fought off numerous DDoS attacks since the Russian-Ukraine conflict began in early spring 2022.

Ukranian officials back Akado attack

Ukrainian’s online media outlet Newsyou.info reported Tuesday that state offices of the Russian Federation had “broke down" in Moscow and that “Russian users began to complain en masse about the lack of Internet access and the inability to contact Akado's support service.”

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine released an official statement on the attack, according to the news outlet.

"As a result of the successful actions of unknown cyber volunteers in Russia, a large-scale failure occurred in the work of the large Internet provider Akado-telecom. The specified company provides services to a number of state structures of terrorist Russia, including the Putin administration, FSB, FSO, local self-government bodies in Moscow and other regions, "Sberbank" and other objects," the Ministry report stated.

"As a result of the problems that have arisen both in Moscow, where the provider's headquarters are located, and in a number of regions of Russia, the activities of the attacker's state departments are significantly complicated or impossible," Ukraine's Ministry said.

'Exhuasting the Enemy'

The Akado hack is the latest in a series of telecom attacks aimed at Russia, and rumored to be payback for the Kremlin’s December attack on Ukraine's telecom giant Kyivstar.

The Kyivstar attack, said to be directly caused by Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, took out internet and phone services for more than 24 million people and another 1 million households for nearly a week.

But, Ukraine's infamous all-volunteer army of hacktivists said its motivation is not about retribution.

“We rather think that each of our operations exhausts the enemy, and accordingly brings the day of victory closer. And every day taken away from the war means saved human lives, which is much more important than any revenge,” the IT Army of Ukraine said in direct response to this article.

Since the Kyivstar attack – which cost its parent company Veon almost $100 million in losses and weeks of recovery – the IT Army has kept busy.

Exactly one week ago, the Ukrainian hacktivists posted on Telegram about carrying out attacks on another major Moscow telecom provider, Qwerty.

The January 15th Qwerty attack lasted roughly 72 hours, according to internet monitoring site NetBlocks.

Akado Telecom, Moscow internet provider
Image by Akado Telecom

Not to be forgotten, on January 9th, the Ukrainian hacktivist group BlackJack was also able to cause a massive disruption affecting another Moscow internet provider, M9com,

BlackJack is thought to be affiliated with Ukraine’s legitimate government intel agency the Security Service of Ukraine, commonly referred to as the SBU.

Besides taking down internet and television services for half of the city, BlackJack claimed to have deleted roughly 20TB of data from the company’s servers while posting another 10GB of stolen data on the dark web.

Kyivstar’s CEO, Oleksandr Komarov, had revealed to local media that since the Russian invasion, the telecom provider has withstood more than 500 hundred serious cyber attacks.

Updated on January 24th, [5:44 p.m. GMT] to include statement from the IT Army of Ukraine.


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