New figures have revealed 300,000 volunteer hackers have banded together on the digital frontline against Russia.
With technological and cyber warfare at the forefront of the current situation in Ukraine, a group of volunteers named the 'IT Army' is levelling the playing field against their invading enemy.
In late February, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Federov posted a link to a Telegram channel to plea for people to join the cyber front.
He tweeted: “We are creating an IT army. We need digital talents. All operational tasks will be given here: https://t.me/itarmyofurraine. There will be tasks for everyone. We continue to fight on the cyber front. The first task is on the channel for cyber specialists.”
Since then, a surge of hackers have volunteered and are directly causing 'cyber-chaos' amid the ongoing war.
According to NetBlocks, the volunteers have so far been successful in disrupting Russian web services.
The global internet monitoring company said the availability of websites for the Kremlin and the Duma have been disrupted since the beginning of the invasion, with state-owned media services also targeted.
Director of NetBlocks, Alp Tocker revealed: “The crowdsourced attacks have been successful in disrupting Russian government and state-backed media websites.”
While Russia has denied any involvement in cyberattacks, global cyberattack tracker Check Point Research (CPR) said that online attacks against Ukrainian military and governmental sectors increased by 196 per cent in the first three days of the invasion.
One volunteer hacker, who wished to remain anonymous told The Guardian: “I wanted to help and use my attacking skills to help Ukraine.”
He added: “I’m from Switzerland, but I’m a strong hacker and I’m so sorry for every Ukrainian. I do it because I stand with Ukraine and I want to help somehow.
"I think if we hack Russia’s infrastructure they will stop, maybe, because nothing will work any more.”
Group administrators of the Telegram group asked for hackers to implement distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks across Russian state websites, and so far the impact has seen many Russian government websites disabled.
Ukraine has 290,000 IT workers, and while many of them have given up their day jobs to join the army against Russia, many have signed up for the IT fight.