In what ways could a group of hackers punish the political elite of country (like russia) so disastrously that its economy and politics will take decades to recover? The answer should lean more on political disruption that ultimately affects the economy. By political elite i mean those in power, from the law makers to the president.The intention would be to dwindle its power, so the opposition should also be whipped.


The strategy should have the lowest effect possible to the average person.

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    $\begingroup$ Note to people planning on answering this question: consider the possible ramifications of giving a particularly accurate or helpful answer. ;) $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ Can we assume that the question is meant to read "...punish the elite without causing strife for the ordinary citizen"? This affects possible answers quite radically. Is these hacktivists do not care about the people, they can just go nuts, but if they do not want the average Jack & jill to suffer... thatt is much harder. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ If you destabilise a political elite to the point where the economy needs to recover, then you are de facto causing problems for AverageJack and AverageJill. See also, revolutions not happening in a vacuum, civil wars actually being quite unpleasant for unaligned civilians in most cases etc Whether the putative hacktivist group is sufficiently self-aware or far-sighted enough to see this, however, is another matter. $\endgroup$
    – Wenlocke
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ This is climate-specific, but you did mention Russia... crank the AC all winter in any and all government-owned buildings. If you want to be especially nasty, target their homes as well. Freeze them out. $\endgroup$
    – Zenon
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Zenon Unless you want to invoke magic hacking of the silliest Hollywood kind, where with some light tapping on the keyboard they suddenly have remote control of everything, that is not really an option. However... cutting electricity to specific houses or at least neighbourhoods is within the realms of possibility. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


Option 1: No More Secrets.

Your hacktivist group basically has a line into the databases and files of the local Intelligence Agency. They know everything there is to know about every important politician and individual of the nation. Indiscretions, minor and major, crimes, dirty thoughts. All of these things are as an open book.

Even at a simple level, merely the public knowledge that the state has this level of detailed information can cause chaos, especially if the public believe that their country isn't like that, and wouldn't do that.

They can pass on their information about specific people to any interested parties, cause chaos either through blackmail, reputation ruining, or other tactics.

They can sell it to the wrong people, who use it for terror attacks, and then either point to the politicians who didn't stop it, or point to the fact the Agency has this info to imply a false flag operation.

Basically, whatever your nasty heart desires if you have all the dirty laundry of a political elite at your fingertips.

Option 2) Economic and info-economic warfare. Have them declared dead. Screw their credit ratings up, have them declared bankrupt. Lay data trails to show them being massively in debt, either to banks or criminals. Donate all their money to charities. Falsify compromising messages to their loved ones, or to others faking an affair.

Again, if your hacktivist group is good enough to falsify information on this level, do whatever your nasty heart desires.

  • $\begingroup$ Merely the public knowledge of the information doesn't work. In some countries maybe, but since op chose Russia as an example, I guarantee that it will not work here. Source: all the exposures by Anti-Corruption Foundation led to nothing. $\endgroup$
    – FiatLux
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ In the case of a Russia-Alike, fair. It's true that the sliding scale of cynicism vs idealism is tipping in favour of "but of course they do" rather than "but we would never do that." $\endgroup$
    – Wenlocke
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, because that worked with panama papers. So good they even made panama papers 2.0. And who could forget the articles from 2017 about the money Russian oligarch funnelled into GOP. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2018 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ Fair. However, in this case, since we are talking about a non-specific fictional country in a fictional world, (Russia is only an example) if the OP wants their population to be idealistic enough to that to be a factor, they can. $\endgroup$
    – Wenlocke
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:46

Mess with gas, electricity and water

Before we start, let me advice you to stay away from magic Holloywood Hacking because 1) the trope is so over-used 2) it is unrealistic and will have people rolling their eyes at you and 3) it is so boring to read.

On to the actual answer...

Humans are fragile creatures. We have achieved very good survival rate compared to how things used to be because we have created an infrastructure that provides us with our basic needs.

The simplest needs that we have are:

  • Heat
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Food

Take that away, and the human is a sorry creature, especially so during a cold Russian winter.

Have your hackers attack first the basic needs of the elite in their homes... knock out power relay stations, cancel their gas subscription, issue work orders to the plumbing that requires water to be turned off, mess with transport schedules and delivery orders, go shoot a nine inch nail through an exposed power line (*). Trust me on this: you are not a powerful person when even a light switch refuses to obey you, leaving you in the literal dark.

When the oligarks do not yield, threaten the same kind of things on a grand scale, and let the oligarks know that they will be implicated and blamed for the outages. Cold, hungry and thirsty citizens are dangerous to anyone that wants to stay in authority.

(*) No need to limit yourself to computer hacks... there are so many practical hacks you can do.


Hamza Bendelladj or "Robin Hood". They steal from the rich and give to the poor. The thing is that there are people you can steal hundreds of millions and they may not notice. But now imagine giving that money to all people of Russia. So they steal hundred millions and split it equally to every Russian citizen.
Or give those money to groups and people that are affected by Russian imperialism.

The money is a leverage oligarch and government have against citizens. Citizens have this nasty habit of not liking to die from starvation. So they work so they can afford food. But if they suddenly have money to move to different country, to afford living without working the system would probably be shaken.

Also you start something similar to Greek Crysis. People have money on their account, they want to withdraw them but the reality is that there is much more virtual money that real one. And people are not afraid of going on strike because they have the money.

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    $\begingroup$ Increase the scale. Russia has something like 150 million people, so dividing a billion rubles among them will give each person about 5 or 7 rubles. In order to make a real difference, this will have to nearly impoverish the rich. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2018 at 17:53

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