Posted on September 21, 2020 at 6:23 PM
On Saturday, anonymous hackers leaked the names and personal details of 1,000 Belarusian police officers as retaliation for the violent police crackdowns of street protesters.
The state of Belarus has seen anti-government demonstrations against the 6th term of Alexandra Lukashenko. But the Belarus police have been accused of taking matters into their hands by violently dispelling the peaceful protesters and arresting many.
The anonymous hackers said the data leak is a warning against the police to stop their violent crackdown against peaceful protesters. The hacking group has also warned to release more of the compromised files if the Belarusian police do not cease the crackdown.
“As the arrests continue, we will continue to publish data on a massive scale,” the hackers said.
The Belarusian government has responded to the data leak, promising to hunt down the perpetrators and punish them accordingly.
Protesters defy police crackdown
Despite the massive deployment of security operatives in the Belarus capital Minsk, thousands of opposition supporters still staged a protest to register their anger against police brutality and the earlier arrest of women demonstrators in the city.
The protesters were holding flags while some held placards with inscriptions such as “cowards beat up women.”
They protested at the Palace of Independence building where president Lukashenko has his office.
In the Belarus presidential election held last month, President Lukashenko had an overwhelming victory over his opponents, who claimed the election was massively rigged in favor of the former Soviet collection farm head. With the massive protest going on, he will need the full support and loyalty of the security forces to remain in the seat.
So far, the authorities have acted on his instructions, as the opposition candidates have claimed.
Cyberwarfare in politics on the rise
The recent cyberattack and subsequent data exposure of more than 1,000 Belarus police officers is not a new phenomenon in the cyber world. In the recent past hackers have resorted to revealing important details from police servers in response to actions taken by the affected police body the group feels is inappropriate.
In July, the personal data of 700,000 cops were exposed as hackers compromised 250 law enforcement websites. There have been other instances where hackers have leaked sensitive law enforcement data as a response to police high handedness.
Most of the data contain details of high-ranking officers
The Belarus police data leak contains dates of birth, names, job titles, and department of the officer. More of the leaked data contains details of high-ranking officers, such as captains, majors, and lieutenants.
The hackers sent the data to Nexta, an independent Belarusian news agency. Nexta published the undetached version of the data yesterday on its digital telegram channel.
The Belarusian government revealed that it detained 390 women who took part in a demonstration against Lukashenko. However, many of them have been released, according to the government report.
The level of the arrests prompted the opposition leaders to issue out warnings that the government is out on an arrest spree on peaceful protesters.
73-year old Nina Baginskaya, one of the prominent voices in the protest movement, was among those arrested on Saturday. However, she has regained her freedom.
Belarus could get sanctioned
After the presidential results were announced on the 8th of last month, Belarus has been in near-total turmoil. The protests began on the election night, as new of some of the results began to fly in. the protests even increased after major opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya claimed the election was massively rigged to favor the incumbent president and keep him for the 6th term. She eventually fled the country, fearing that the government may come after her.
The demonstrations have been massive, and some videos showing Belarus police brutality on citizens have surfaced on social media. As it stands, the president is still in power because of the loyalty of the military and police.
The EU is considering more sanctions against the Belarus government in the wake of the unlawful arrests of its citizens by the government.
But Minsk was not happy that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the government’s main opposition head, was spearheading the move for sanctions. The Belarus government believed that Tikhanovskaya wants to meet with EU foreign ministers to discuss the level of sanctions the EU is proposing against the government. While in exile, Tikhanovskaya has asked the government to step down and let the wish of the people prevail.