Old video clips and tweaked old news are being used to mislead the public over non-existent successful cyberattacks.

As the physical conflict between Ukraine and Russia escalates, hacktivist groups for both sides have been claiming successful cyberattacks against each other.

However, recent claims by three hacktivist groups, AgainstTheWest, KelvinSecurity and Killnet, have been investigated by cyber researchers and found to be untrue.

Alleged cyberattacks on Russia’s largest search engine Yandex and two other targets (a Russian nuclear facility and a hack on Anonymous’ website) have been discredited by Check Point Research (CPR). The fake news had apparently leveraged a combination of old YouTube videos, public information and copied pages to make the content convincing.

The cyber researchers suspects many more groups of spreading misinformation throughout the current conflict.  

  • Pro-Ukraine group AgainstTheWest claimed to have breached Russian search engine, publishing ‘leaked’ files as proof. Yet, the files were already public information.
  • Pro-Ukraine group KelvinSecurity claimed to have breach a nuclear facility in Russia, publishing ‘leaked’ links, databases and videos as proof. The video provided by the group was in fact a year old on YouTube and the links have led to information publicly available for years.
  • Pro-Russia group Killnet claimed to have hacked threat group Anonymous’ website, releasing a video as ‘proof’ that later turned out to be illegitimate. Fact: there is no real official Anonymous website.

According to Lotem Finkelstein, Head of Threat Intelligence and Research, CPR: “Hacktivists are designing claims of cyberattacks to gain popularity or glory. Going forward, it will be important for us all to verify the claims hacktivists and individuals are making in the cyber sphere around the current Ukraine-Russia conflict. It’s important to understand that these hacktivist groups exist regardless of the war, but that they are attempting to take advantage of the moment by spreading misinformation on attacks that never happened, for their own clout.”