Red Cross published rules for hacktivists. They responded by hacking its Russian website

Not long ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) published a “code of conduct” for hackers during wars. Given the dubious reputation of this organization in Ukraine, Ukrainian hackers protested the notion by defacing the Russian website of the Red Cross. AIN.Capital learned about this from its own sources, the Hdr0 group also talked about it on its Telegram channel.

What happened?

The ICRC issued a “code of conduct” for civilian hackers on how to fight a cyber war the right way. In particular, they were advised not to attack civilian objects, intimidate civilians, call for violations of international law, and so on.

Every rule on the Red Cross list had been previously violated by Russian hackers, particularly those linked to the Russian military, both before and after the full-scale invasion. Back in 2015, the Russian hackers left Ivano-Frankivsk and part of the Prykarpattia region without electricity, hacked Ukrainian state websites to gain access to citizens’ data, etc. Of course, it is futile to look for the Red Cross’s reaction to these incidents, because there is none.

In protest to such hypocrisy, the Ukrainian hacker group Hdr0 hacked the Russian website of the Red Cross and changed the lead page to the message that shows how the Russian branch of the ICRC violates the organization’s charter, in particular, the principle of humanity, independence, and universality. Currently, the website is offline, but its defaced main page remained in the web archive.

Red Cross
Image: Hdr0’s Telegram channel

What caused such reaction?

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the ICRC’s reputation as a humane and independent international organization has suffered greatly. Its Russian representative office sometimes even helps the occupiers to violate the norms of international law. Some of the most striking examples include:

  • In November 2022, it became known that the Russian Red Cross had stolen property from the Ukrainian branch in Crimea. Dmytro Lubynets, the authorized representative of the Verkhovna Rada on human rights, wrote about this in his Telegram. It was about 10 premises with a total area of 641 square meters, as well as 6 cars and office equipment.
  • The Russian Red Cross supports the Russian military: in October 2022, it launched a fundraising to help the families of mobilized and military personnel of the Russian Federation, as part of the #МЫВМЕСТЕ campaign. The initiative is similar to those that the Russian volunteers launch to help their army. The award launched by Putin to support social initiatives has the same name (about which there is a separate news item on the website of the Russian Red Cross).
  • Ukrainian paramedic Orest Hrytsiuk, recently released from Russian captivity, talked about how representatives of the Russian Red Cross scolded, mocked, and laughed at Ukrainian prisoners. In a comment, the ICRC representatives in Ukraine actually questioned his words:
  • You can read more about what’s wrong with the ICRC in the material prepared by the OSINT community Molfar.
  • It is also worth clarifying that there are two separate organizations: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a Swiss organization that has offices in various countries. There are also hundreds of separate national Red Cross societies (coordinated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies).

So the reaction of the Ukrainian hacker community to the ICRC’s hypocritical statements seems quite logical.

“There are no rules during wars. And the Red Cross (, which is smeared with the blood of our prisoners and the tears of our children, has no right to giving advice or making rules about anything. We will use every opportunity to inflict maximum damage on our enemy,”

the group that hacked the organization’s Russian website said in the statement.