NoName057(16) Gets Busy Recruiting an Online Hacktivist Army

Written by staff writer.

The pro-Russian hacktivist group NoName057(16) is actively recruiting an online army to ramp up its cyber assaults on the websites of private entities and government agencies in countries it says display a bias against Russia.

In a series of posts on its Telegram channel, NoName057(16) calls the formation of its online volunteer army the DDoSia Project. “Join our volunteer DDoSia Project to fight in the cyber war unleashed by the West against our Motherland,” one recent post reads.

Calling prospective online recruits “patriots and fighters for justice,” NoName057(16) says just like bona fide armies, members will have ranks and merit awards depending on their time of service and achievements. On November 25, the group said recruits would be paid in an electronic currency called dCoin “according to their contribution to the attacks,” adding that the higher the volunteer’s rank and the more cyber attacks the recruit made, the more they would be paid.

NoName057(16) advises that the coins can be withdrawn, converted into TONcoin, and sent to a crypto wallet. Initially, one dCoin is pegged at one Russian rouble, but the group says the rate will likely fluctuate as activity increases.

In late October, the group targeted Australian entities in response to an Australian Government decision to provide an AUD20 million military package to Ukraine. In response, NoName057(16) temporarily disrupted the websites of the Adelaide Bank, Perth’s public transport, the Northern Territory’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning, and Logistics, and the Australian Government’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Since then, the group has primarily focused on European websites. However, it has also paid attention to Canada multiple times this month in response to that country’s government deciding to keep providing military aid to Ukraine. “We say hello to Justin Bieber Trudeau,” a post read before listing sites they had shut down in that country.

NoName057(16) has gained considerable notoriety for its DDoS attacks using its DDOSIA tool that disrupts target websites by repeatedly issuing network requests. The group emerged in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and almost daily targets websites in hit-and-run campaigns against certain countries that it deems anti-Russian. The group reportedly co-operates with other pro-Russian cyber collectives and is active on Telegram, regularly posting links to prove server outages at the entities targeted that day. The hacktivists also appear to enjoy publicity and the consternation it causes. NoName057(16) promoted a November 17 speech by the US Assistant Treasury Secretary Graham Steele that mentioned them by name. “Graham Steele mentioned us in his report,” they posted, along with a laughing emoji. “We are waiting for personal sanctions against the NoName057(16) team.” So far, the people behind the group have managed to remain anonymous.

In their most recent posts, dated November 28, NoName057(16) said it was targeting Swiss entities in response to a Swiss politician travelling to Ukraine to attend a food security summit and meet Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Also in the firing line are Czech companies after that country’s president complained about weapon shortages in Ukraine and delays by allied nations in supplying more.