The hacker group Anonymous changed the call sign of a superyacht reportedly belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin this week. According to independent journalist Ryan Gallagher, the “hacktivist” group took credit for the cyberattack, during which they changed the ship’s call sign to “FCKPTN” and its destination to “hell.”
“Putin reportedly has a $97 million luxury yacht called ‘Graceful’. A group of Anonymous hackers on Saturday figured out a way to mess with maritime traffic data & made it look like the yacht had crashed into Ukraine’s Snake Island, then changed its destination to ‘hell,’” Gallagher tweeted.
Anonymous later changed the yacht’s call sign again, this time to “ANONYMO” with “FCKPTN” as the vessel’s destination.
“Now Putin’s yacht is on the right track! ;) #FckPutin with love, #Anonymous,” the group tweeted.
In a separate tweet, Gallagher said the hackers are “affiliated with an Anonymous offshoot called @theanonleaks,” who told him that they manipulated “the maritime ‘Automatic Identification System,’ which is used to track ship locations.”
“They changed the yacht’s destination to ‘hell’, ‘anonymous’ & ‘anonleaks’ & also changed its call sign to ‘FCKPTN’. They said they wanted to put the yacht in the scope of sanction packages as well as ‘put a little smile on some faces for a short period in these dark times,’” Gallagher tweeted.
Anonymous also claimed to have hacked Russian state television networks, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, and various other government agency websites, including the Kremlin.
The group declared cyber war against Russia last week in a post that said, “Anonymous has ongoing operations to keep .ru government website offline, and to push information to the Russian people so they can be free of Putin’s state censorship machine. We also have ongoing operations to keep the Ukrainian people online as best we can.”
“Russia may be using bombs to drop on innocent people, but Anonymous uses lasers to kill Russian government websites,” another post added.
The hack comes as Russia continues hammering Ukraine with attacks. On Tuesday, video of a massive explosion near the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was shared widely across social media, fueling speculation that Russian forces may have launched a thermobaric explosive, or otherwise targeted a large ammunition storage amid their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
On Monday, a five-hour talk between Ukraine and Russia concluded without any ceasefire agreement. The two nations did approve another meeting later this week, but Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would not make concessions “when one side is hitting another with rocket artillery.”