Website lets you call Russian officials to protest war

A click of a button supposedly connects two separate numbers of Russian government agencies. He supports hims make 3,000 of these calls at once.
Screenshot: wasting russian time

Tired of getting calls from your old buddy Spam likely? Now you may be able to feel the power of being on the other end of an unwanted call, while blocking the phone lines of Russian bureaucrats, media and military personnel.

A group of hacktivists around the world published the site Wednesday morning. They’ve designed the site to be as easy to use as possible, and you don’t even have to make up a “fridge running” joke to supposedly impersonate two Russian officials. A single click and Captcha test is supposed to connect two phone lines to confuse, distract and annoy those on the line.

As first reported by Wiredthe hacktivist group Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade (referring to the character of the storyteller from the classic tale One thousand and one arabian nights) claim they are using a leaked database of Russian civil servants information to connect callers with two separate people at the Ministry of War and Economy, mid-level administrators at the Russian Federal Assembly, politicians, military police, state media, etc.

In the early hours of the morning, the site was already reporting more than 2,000 calls made in 45 minutes while Gizmodo was trying out the system.

In six separate attempts, the system connected the phones of two unknown Russian state media, political bureaucrats, secret service and state police, although we could not hear any voices on the lines. Calls ended after about a minute of static.

The hacktivists claim to have used publicly disclosed data, as well as web scraping to find more than 5,000 government phone numbers. During morning traffic, the site claimed that more than 3,000 phone numbers were being called at the moment. The system is not entirely dependent on user calls, as human-initiated calls are also completed using bots, according to the website.

“Let’s make sure we sabotage the war whenever we can, okay? It doesn’t matter who owns the war,” read a post on the site.

It remains to be seen how Russia will react or has already responded to the clogging of its lines with unwanted calls. One of the site’s creators, who goes by the name of Shera, told Wired they hope the calls will confuse and Russian speakers might even be able to listen in on what people online have to say.

“Join the Civilian Intervention Against War,” the site reads. “If you’re on the phone, you can’t drop bombs or coordinate soldiers.”

The intense information war between Russia, Ukraine, Western countries and militants around the world has been raging since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the surprise invasion in February. Hacktivist group Anonymous said they or they doxed 120,000 Russian troops who they claim participated in the invasion of Ukraine. In March, Ukraine itself released names and contacts of 620 Russian intelligence agents. In April, the country names listed Russian soldiers they say were involved in atrocities in the town of Bucha.

Although Russian hacks from groups like LAPSUS$ have wreaked havoc on multiple systems over the past few months, The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Russia itself had suffered an incredible number of hacks of its financial and government systems. More information on Russian accounts was dumped on the web last March than any other nation.

About Sandra A. Powell

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