The popular fanfiction website Archive of Our Own (AO3) has been taken down by the pro-Russian hacktivist group Anonymous Sudan. The group, posing as a pro-Islam hacker collective, has launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on AO3, demanding a $30,000 ransom to end the assault.
As a result, over 11 million works from thousands of fans have become inaccessible.
Despite Anonymous Sudan’s claims, cybersecurity experts believe the group’s affiliation and reasons for attacking websites are misleading. AO3 has assured its users that it does not support anti-Muslim sentiments and advised them to view the group’s statements with skepticism.
The fanfiction site is actively working to mitigate the attack and keep fans updated through its Twitter account.
Anonymous Sudan, which primarily employs HTTP-based DDoS attacks, is suspected to be connected to another pro-Russian DDoS group called Killnet. The origins and modus operandi of Anonymous Sudan suggest it is a well-funded project aligned with Kremlin policies, rather than a typical hacktivist group.
The use of efficient but expensive DDoS attack techniques indicates the group’s access to substantial financial resources, distinguishing it from hacktivists who rely on crowdfunding or internal funding for their activities.