Visa and Mastercard say they have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their network, complying with government sanctions.
Visa said it was taking prompt action to ensure compliance with applicable sanctions, adding that it will donate $2 million for humanitarian aid. Mastercard also promised to contribute $2 million.
“We will continue to work with regulators in the days ahead to abide fully by our compliance obligations as they evolve,” Mastercard said in a separate statement.
The government sanctions require Visa to suspend access to its network for entities listed as Specially Designated Nationals, a source familiar with the matter said.
The US has added various Russian financial firms to the list, including the country’s central bank and second-largest lender VTB.
Anonymous Join the War
Meanwhile, the murky online group known as Anonymous appears to be wading into the Ukraine-Russia conflict by declaring it is at cyber war against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
A Twitter post from an account named “Anonymous” – with 7.4 million followers and nearly 190,000 Tweets – summoned hackers around the world to target Russia.
A post from the account on 24th February stated the loosely connected global group was gearing up for action against the country – “and we will be retweeting their endeavours,” it said.
In the days thereafter, posts by the account claimed responsibility for disabling websites belonging to the Russian oil giant Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian news agency RT, and numerous Russian and Belarusian government agencies, including the Kremlin’s official site.
Subsequent posts took credit for disrupting Russian internet service providers, leaking documents and emails from the Belarusian weapons manufacturer Tetraedr, and shutting down a gas supply provided by the Russian telecommunications service Tvingo Telecom.
The account holder summarised the group’s intentions in a Twitter post last week, which stated: “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,” read a post on 26th February.
Substantiating the group’s claims is difficult, if not impossible, since anonymity is a key tenet of the collective.
A review of a website that checks server outages confirmed that many of the websites that the group claimed to have knocked down are currently – or were recently – disabled.
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