The Anonymous activists have vowed to attack Russian government websites in protest of the country's presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin scheduled for Monday (May 7).
In a Russian-language YouTube video, the hacking group, operating under the "Operation Defiance" flag, said, "The first target is the website of the Russian government, which was formed through deception and fraud," Russia's Ria Novosti reported. "Join us! All it takes is a few simple actions to bring this rotten and corrupt system to its logical end."
Currently Russia's Prime Minister, Putin served as president from 2000 to 2008, and was replaced by Dmitry Medvedev. Leading the United Russia Party, Putin won the presidential seat again on March 4, 2012, amidst widespread criticism from the opposition party and the West that the election was rigged in his favor.
Anonymous singled out only two sites in its anti-Putin "OpDefiance" campaign: government.ru, set for a Sunday (May 6) attack and premier.gov.ru, the prime minister's official website, which it said it will attack on Monday. Both attacks are expected to be denial-of-service attacks, by which the hackers and their supporters flood the target websites with too much traffic to properly function.
Putin has tangled with cyberactivists before: Following the contested parliamentary elections in December, which sparked public outrage on Twitter, thousands of automated Twitter bots launched a counterattack to block the anti-Putin sentiments. Pro-Kremlin parties also swamped the phone lines of liberal activist groups and newspapers with a recorded voice touting Putin's magnificence.
Closer to home, Anonymous is also embattled with the University of Pittsburgh after the school improperly leaked students' personal information, and also allegedly helped authorities arrest several people believed to be Anonymous supporters.
In an April 26 YouTube video, Anonymous told the school, "We now have obtained access to every student's password, username, email address, personal addresses, dorm room information, parental information, course information, payment information to include type of payment, amount paid and all corresponding credit card information. We also possess the equivalent data of the instructors, have access to all coursework, grades and every student alumni's information."
Softpedia reports that the hacktivist group has given the university a May 6 deadline to post an apology to the students and professors for their mishandling of the students' data. If they don't comply, and keep the apology on the school's website for "no less than 15 days," Anonymous said it will "release the information as we see fit."