Since February, Swedish airports, hospitals, and banks have been targeted by Anonymous Sudan, a mysterious hacker group. The group claims that it is made up of hacktivists from the East African nation whose aim is to go after anyone who opposes Islam. But on closer inspection, security researchers from Truesec found that the hacker group is being used by Russians to amplify the Muslim minority community in the country.
Matt Wahlen, a security researcher at Truesec, one of Sweden’s biggest cybersecurity firms, led an investigation behind the targeted attacks on Sweden by Anonymous Sudan and compiled a report. During the investigation, Matt found that the group’s Telegram page pointed clues to its Russian origins. The group listed its main language as Russian and its location was also found to be in Russia. Furthermore, the group aligned itself with Killnet, a pro-Russian group of hackers that targeted Ukraine.
The hacker group appears to be well-funded, which is peculiar to most hacking organisations. Anonymous Sudan rented 61 servers in Germany from IBM Corp’s SoftLayer division to conduct its operation, reported Baffin Bay Networks, another Swedish cybersecurity agency. The servers are since then taken down.
While the researchers are still unsure whether there are Russian officials involved directly with Anonymous Sudan, the timing of the attacks and the similarities of the attacks with other such attacks concludes without a doubt that this was a Russian-led mission to complicate Sweden’s NATO application.
“This strategy of creating chaos is one of the major means Russia has been using against Sweden to complicate its NATO application,” Katarzyna Zysk, a professor of International Relations at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies told Bloomberg.
Although Anonymous Sudan has declined the allegations, the attacks are just one of the ways through which Russians are trying to meddle in Sweden’s political processes.