Hacktivist group GhostSec has apparently decided that even in modern warfare the pen is mightier than the sword, and is claiming to have remotely hijacked more than 300 Russian printers, forcing them to run antiwar messages until their ink runs dry.
“Dear Brother/Sister,” reads a transcript of the alleged printed message on communication app Telegram. “This isn’t your war, this is your government’s war. Your brothers and sisters are being lied to, some units think they are practising military drills. However, when they arrive [...] they’re greeted by bloodthirsty Ukrainians who want redemption and revenge from [sic] the damage that Putin’s puppets cause upon the land.”
The claim, also posted on Twitter by the Anonymous sub-group, has allegedly been verified by reporters who contacted account owners and confirmed the breach had taken place. It is unclear whether these owners were Russian operators or merely representatives of service providers.
According to other sources, more than 10,000 antiwar messages have been printed, though it is not clear where in Russia the hacked printing machines are located, though GhostSec implied on Telegram that its targets had been primarily military and other government installations: “many Mil and Gov networks = ink completely wasted.”
Occupy Democrats tweeted a message yesterday – subsequently retweeted by Anonymous itself - declaring “unsecured printers all across Russia” had begun “mass printing information on Putin’s invasion including Russia losses in order to bypass the Kremlin’s media blackout and propaganda.”
GhostSec has warned that its army of hijacked printers will grow, while stressing that it is not aiming attacks at ordinary Russian civilians.
“Our attacks are against the government of Russia and [its] military,” it said on Telegram. “We do our total best to avoid harming or attacking innocents [and] we suggest anyone working on this op to insure [sic] the same.”
Hacking printers and remotely forcing them to print messages is certainly nothing new, and a matter of public record. In 2020 the Cybernews research team successfully took over 28,000 machines around the world, forcing them to print a five-step guide on how to beef up cybersecurity.
If the GhostSec attack claims are indeed true, Russian military and government departments might do well to consider five-step guides of their own.
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