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Hacktivist group 'Anonymous' claims to have hacked Russia's Central Bank

Says they will release 35,000 files with secret agreements in the next 48 hours

Source: Daily Mail

International hacking collective Anonymous claims to have exploited Russia's Central Bank - and is threatening to release 35,000 files which include 'secret agreements' in the next 48 hours.

'We do not welcome any illegal activity in cyberspace. But the world order changed on the 24th of February' - the date that Russia invaded his country.

The bank is responsible for protecting and ensuring the safety of the ruble, the Russian currency which has plummeted in value since the invasion of Ukraine began last month.

In a post on Twitter late last night by one of the group's accounts, Anonymous revealed its latest hack, though details were limited.

Alongside an image of a smiling mask - now synonymous with the group - it wrote: 'JUST IN: The #Anonymous collective has hacked the Central Bank of Russia. More than 35.000 files will be released within 48 hours with secret agreements. #OpRussia'.

It comes as speculation has mounted in recent days over the future of central bank head Elvira Nabiullina.

She was photographed looking dejected at a Kremlin meeting and posted a cryptic video, in which she acknowledged the Russian economy was in an 'extreme' situation and said, 'We all very much would have liked this not to have happened.'

But Vladimir Putin this week asked parliament to nominate her for another term, apparently scotching rumors she could resign in protest at the war.

There have been murmurs of concern from oligarchs who stand to lose massively from the invasion, such as the magnates Oleg Deripaska and Mikhail Fridman, who have both made cautious comments promoting peace.

On March 3, the board of Russia's largest privately-owned energy company, oil giant Lukoil, also called for an end to the conflict.

Noble added that many members of the elite were shocked by the invasion, as the vast majority 'had not been involved in the decision-making process' and believed Putin was planning brinkmanship rather than invasion.

'However, it's one thing to call for peace; it's quite another to criticize Putin directly,' he said.

The collective is responsible for several attacks of Russian state-controlled media and government websites in which it forcibly swapped Kremlin-directed programming for videos of the bloodshed on the ground in Ukraine and anti-war statements.

Anonymous has also conducted cyber raids on the likes of Russia's media regulator Roskomnadzor and Russian intelligence and security service FSB, leaking thousands of classified documents to expose the details of Putin's plans to conquer Ukraine and undermine the Kremlin's domestic propaganda drive.

But now, the hacktivists are turning their attention to large corporations who have not yet suspended their operations in Russia amid the war.

Anonymous' official Twitter account posted yesterday that companies had 48 hours to 'pull out' of Russia or face becoming a target of further attacks.

Though Anonymous' promise to punish companies who are operating in the region has been widely praised on social media, some cybersecurity experts have expressed concern that soliciting help from freelancers who violate cyber norms could have dangerous escalatory consequences.

Top Ukrainian cyber security official Victor Zhora said he would not normally endorse Anonymous' vigilante-style cyberwarfare, but recognized that the war in Ukraine represented an extraordinary situation.

The deputy chair of Ukraine's state special communications service said earlier this month: 'We do not welcome any illegal activity in cyberspace. But the world order changed on the 24th of February' - the date that Russia invaded his country.

On March 15, Anonymous brought down several Russian state websites, including that of Russia's security and intelligence service (FSB).

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