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Parmy Olson

How Hacktivists Are Fighting Russia With Their Keyboards

The Ukrainian government has been actively seeking out help from groups of hackers. But what’s the risk of Russian retaliation?

Cyber warfare.

Cyber warfare.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Wars are no longer just fought on battlefields or streets, but in cyberspace, too. The Ukrainian government has actively sought the help of volunteer hackers — and hundreds of thousands have answered the call. The global hacktivist collective Anonymous has meanwhile gone after Russian state media posting anti-war messages on the websites of state media channels. Another group recently disabled EV charging stations in Russia, reprogramming them to display messages like: “Glory to Ukraine.” But what are the risks of retaliation from Russian state-backed hackers, and could this turn into a full-on cyberwar?

Parmy Olson hosted a Twitter Spaces with Bloomberg reporter Ryan Gallagher and Yuliana Shemetovets, a spokesperson for Belarusian Cyber-Partisans — a group of “hacktivists” who appear to have disrupted trains transporting Russian soldiers through Belarus. Here is a lightly edited transcription of their conversation.