Hackers created a robocaller to waste Russian officials time and you can listen in on...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,498   +1,045
Staff member
In context: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted several companies to stop doing business with Russia. Western nations have also hit the superpower with crippling sanctions. Even hackers have jumped into the fray with DDoS attacks on government websites.

A hacktivist group calling itself Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade has created a bot that sets up a conference call between multiple government entities, causing each to think the other one made the call. The stated purpose is to waste the government's time and tie up the phone lines. The automated spam calls go on non-stop during Russian operating hours.

On Wednesday, the hacking group set up a website where anybody can initiate and listen in on one of these calls. The website is called Waste Russian Time Today. Users visiting the site can scroll down to the telephone icon, start a call between random Russian agencies, and listen to the chaos as they try to figure out who is calling who and why.

Obviously, knowing Russian might help understand what is said. Still, participants likely get heated as the officials have probably been fielding nonsense calls all day — anger and frustration sound the same in any language. Regardless of whether anybody uses the site, the bot still places calls without human intervention to ensure it wastes as much of the agencies' time as possible.

"If youʼre on the phone, you canʼt drop bombs or coordinate soldiers," the group said. "[Don't speak Russian?] Block the lines! You can always guess something from the voices. And the more Duma employees are irritated, the better."

So far, 5,186 calls have been placed from the website since going live today.

Currently, the group operates off the phone numbers of thousands of government employees, including Putin's press corps, Duma employees, Military Poice, and the FSB (Russian Secret Service). The numbers range from mid-level administrators to high-ranking politicians. But the group wants more.

Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade is looking for ways to add to its database. The hackers will accept emails from anybody who might have more phone numbers. They also encourage those who would like to be more involved to do independent research to build a more extensive collection.

Users initiating a call from the website are entirely anonymous, and their voices cannot be heard. Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade told Wired that muting the third-party user ensures that they cannot give up any identifying information to the others on the line.

Whether this effort is effective in slowing down the war machine is debatable. It's also unclear what Russia can do about the distraction. Spam calls are virtually impossible to stop under normal circumstances. The fact that the nuisance calls come from trusted official sources makes it even more complicated to weed them out. It should be interesting to see how Russia deals with this new problem now that the cat is out of the bag.

Image credit: Phonlamai Photo

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nodfor

Posts: 246   +437
If Russians where doing this to western politicians, would the article be glorifying them as well? Probably not, nice double standard.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,128   +1,671
nice double standard.
Nice try, but I reject that the West's actions are equivalent to what Russia is doing to Ukraine.

Any country who participates in war might occasionally hit a civilian target in error. Russia flattening whole blocks of civilian apartments for no reason other than they want to steal the land and freedom of another country is not the same thing.

And btw, I'd much rather read an article about Russian hackers sending congress phony phone calls, than the actual articles I read which are about them using ransomware to mess up not only private companies but also public infrastructure like hospitals, pipelines, etc.
 

hwertz

Posts: 141   +80
Umm, *could* I unmute my end? I'd love to give 'em a (stupid beer ad style) "whaats uuuuuupp?" .. (or is it "whaaaazup?"); or let them listen to some Jeopardy.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,764   +7,678
I still haven't stopped laughing ..... which one of them will tell you to hit the shark on the nose?!?!?
 

Aus spot

Posts: 135   +129
Ok you just said it is ok for us to invade russia and kill and rape women. thanks.
No they didn't, they clearly stated what they ment. It was a good point, we like to justify bad actions if against someone we don't like.

Just the same as the military action. Russia justifies as against someone they don't like that much.

Not to say bad can't be funny as to 3rd parties.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 737   +537
Russia will be fine once Putin is dead, or out of Power.... then they can move forward as a nation, instead of a paranoid one.
 

Maxiking

Posts: 154   +169
Nice try, but I reject that the West's actions are equivalent to what Russia is doing to Ukraine.

Any country who participates in war might occasionally hit a civilian target in error. Russia flattening whole blocks of civilian apartments for no reason other than they want to steal the land and freedom of another country is not the same thing.

And btw, I'd much rather read an article about Russian hackers sending congress phony phone calls, than the actual articles I read which are about them using ransomware to mess up not only private companies but also public infrastructure like hospitals, pipelines, etc.

Nice propaganda.

Russians killed fewer civilians in Ukraine than the Western coalition in Iraq.

And remember Mosul, when the US and UK were fighting ISIS. They bombarded it to the ground and killed 10 k civilians. The entire death toll is 40k civilians, but we do not know actually who killed the rest, because the fighting was so intense.

This thing was happening during the same time when the Russians were targeting Aleppo in Syria but for some reason, no one was writing about it. I could mention Yugoslavia too, according to the stats, over 20 hospitals, 200 schools, 600 historical landmarks and 50k housing units were destroyed and shall I mention how NATO was targeting civilian infrastructure on purpose including bridges, powerplants, water facilities and hit humanitarian convoys, buses, trains full of people? Of course, it was not on purpose, it was occasionally hitting them. Yes, 20 hospitals and 200 schools, a mistake.

This typical western ignorance is hilarious.

Always the same script, our wars are justified, defensive and would never target civilian buildings, unlike the opposition. I feel like I should also mention what wiki leaks exposed, Assange respectively, mass rapes in Iraq, human trafficking of prisoners, the killing of civilians, torturing civilians and prisoners of war in secret facilities in Iraq and across Europe in Poland and Romania.
 
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Xclusiveitalian

Posts: 864   +280
It's funny except that it's posted publicly so now Russia knows. It also knows that Nato is directly engaging in war against them. We are dealing with a madman, I don't wanna get nuked for Ukraine.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,511   +1,454
Nice propaganda.

Russians killed fewer civilians in Ukraine than the Western coalition in Iraq.

And remember Mosul, when the US and UK were fighting ISIS. They bombarded it to the ground and killed 10 k civilians. The entire death toll is 40k civilians,
The highest estimate I've seen was a study published in the British medical journal Lancet, which claimed 600,000 civilians killed, based on excess death rates. I don't agree with their assumptions, but the figure of 100,000 to 200,000 is a fairly safe estimate. Certainly Russia has -- so far -- restrained from the same sort of carpet-bombing of cities that we used in Iraq. And we weren't fighting a populace that (according to Zelensky at least) consists of every single civilian armed and fighting back.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,511   +1,454
It's funny except that it's posted publicly so now Russia knows. It also knows that Nato is directly engaging in war against them.
Russia knew that even before the war began, when Ukraine hosted NATO "training maneuvers" only a few miles from the Russian border, and Zelensky began threatening to re-acquire nuclear weapons and attack Russia directly, with veiled hints of "NATO support".
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 271   +191
Even a little help is a lot of help. Good on you! Slow the war machine as much as possible. Putin might be dead before this war even comes close to an end anyway.