Russian prison system hacked in retaliation for Navalny’s death

The hackers shared the stolen data to uncover the circumstances surrounding Navalny’s death.

Russia flag is depicted on the screen with the program code

In the wake of opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s death in a Russian prison, a group of anti-Kremlin hackers leveraged their access to the prison network in Russia and defaced a prison contractor’s website with Navalny’s image. The hackers obtained a database containing information on hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners and their contacts. They shared this data to garner attention to Navalny’s case, hoping for clarity on his demise.

Exploiting their access further, the hackers manipulated prices on the Russian prison system’s online commissary, offering goods for one ruble (approximately $0.01). It took days for authorities to rectify the situation, indicating a significant breach in security. Despite some duplicate entries, a CNN review confirmed the authenticity of the leaked data, linking individuals to Russian prisons. In a message left by the hackers on the defaced website, they expressed their love for their country and vowed to return when it’s liberated from the Putin regime.

The targeted online prison shop, owned by the Russian state, serves 34 regions. The authorities have yet to respond to requests for comment.

Why does it matter?

The incident marks a significant escalation in hacktivism, reflecting a broader trend of politically motivated cyberattacks, particularly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This act underscores the growing role of hacktivism as a tool for expressing dissent and influencing political discourse in the digital age.