Official Kremlin website down amid Russia's war in Ukraine

The Kremlin's Spasskaya tower and St Basil's cathedral are pictured in Moscow. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - The official website of the Kremlin, the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin, kremlin.ru, was down on Saturday (Feb 26), following reports of denial of service (DDoS) attacks on various other Russian government and state media websites.

Last week, Britain and the United States said Russian military hackers were behind a spate of DDoS attacks that briefly knocked Ukrainian banking and government websites offline before the Russian invasion.

Saturday's outage of the Kremlin website comes amid increasingly insistent online calls to arms from members of the hacktivist community, including from Twitter accounts historically associated with Anonymous, the amorphous online activist community that first grabbed global attention about a decade ago.

Russia-themed leaks and hacks attributed to the group have begun to percolate across the web - although as is often the case with Anonymous and with other hacker collectives the authenticity of the claims remain difficult to establish.

It is not unusual for freelance or ideologically motivated hackers to jump into global conflicts on one side or another; similar actions took place during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Occasionally, parties to the conflict court the attention of hacktivists; on Thursday Reuters reported that the Ukrainian government had put out a call to the hacker underground to help support its underdog effort to beat back the Russians.

On Wednesday, a newly discovered piece of destructive software was found circulating in Ukraine, hitting hundreds of computers, according to researchers at the cybersecurity firm ESET.

Suspicion fell on Russia, which has repeatedly been accused of hacks against Ukraine and other countries. The victims included government agencies and a financial institution, Reuters previously reported.

Russia has denied the allegations.

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