Hacktivism has increased for years and saw an even more dramatic increase in 2022. The Belarusian Cyber Partisans, a group of hacktivists, have been attempting to sell as a nonfungible token (NFT) that claimed to include the passport info of Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus. According to the hackers, they created an NFT with the information from President Alexander Lukashenko’s passport after gaining access to the passport data of every citizen in Belarus, including him.
Belarus is a crypto-friendly country and also notorious for corruption. Since the country’s founding in 1994, Lukashenko, a highly contentious individual, has remained in power in Belarus. Despite being elected on the promise of eradicating corruption, he has been accused by groups like the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project of “rigging elections, torturing critics, and arresting and beating protestors” in the past.
According to the Cyber Partisans, their actions are a component of a grassroots effort to raise money to combat “bloody regimes in Minsk and Moscow.” The group’s members assert that they broke into a government database containing every citizen of Belarus’ passport data, enabling them to release an NFT collection called Belarusian Passports that includes a digital passport purported to include factual information about Lukashenko.
The Belarusian Cyber Partisans also disclosed that they intended to sell NFTs containing the passport data of other senior government figures with ties to Lukashenko. “We also provide the passports of his closest collaborators and betrayers of the Belarusian and Ukrainian people. All donations will support our efforts to overthrow brutal governments in Minsk and Moscow,” the group said in a tweet.
On Lukashenko’s birthday, the hackers said they tried to sell the NFT collection on the OpenSea market. The initiative violated OpenSea policies about “doxing and exposing personally identifiable information about another person without their knowledge,” a company spokeswoman told Gizmodo. People also questioned the validity of the data on the passport. They stated that errors in the spelling of Alexander and the word “Republic” on the front page had tampered with the digital passport’s data.
The hacktivists’ allegations about the president are firmly in opposition to the current leadership. Lukashenko’s endorsement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to international sanctions and infuriated the group. Cyber hackers in Belarus are deliberately aiming to thwart the government’s functioning. The same group claims responsibility for taking over a railway computer system earlier this year to disrupt the travel of Russian troops.
The Belarusian Cyber Partisans began a more considerable fundraising effort in February under the name “Resistance Movement of Belarus” to eventually oust Lukashenko with self-defense forces of their own. Most donations to the cause are made via digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC). Political hacktivism is likely to continue targeting governments and companies. However, the ability of these activities to reach specific political outcomes for the hackers remains unclear. Reportedly, despite the rise in political activism, the impacts of hackers have also decreased over time.