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Hackers Take Over Russian Radio and TV Station to Transmit Fake Putin Martial Law Message


June 07, 2023

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Hackers Take Over Russian Radio and TV Station to Transmit Fake Putin Martial Law Message

Unknown hackers somehow managed to compromise radio and TV broadcasts in several Russian regions, transmitting a fake message from President Vladimir Putin announcing martial law due to a supposedly massive Ukraine incursion.

Ukraine is expected to go on the offensive, but with no clear indication of when that might happen, the Russian military, authorities and people have been on edge. Hackers used this uncertainty to broadcast a fake presidential address in Rostov, Belgorod and Voronezh.

These regions directly border Ukraine, so the impact would have been the most significant regarding public receptiveness. While the initial reports mention that only radio messages were sent, subsequent reports and recordings showed that video messages were also seen on TV. Ukraine's NEXTA news outlet published a couple of videos on Twitter.

The speech promised a general mobilization in Ukraine's border regions.

According to a Vice report, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, acknowledged the hack of at least one radio station but said the president didn't send such a message and that the address was not real.

Faking a person's voice is not all that difficult, especially with recent advancements, but video deepfakes are more challenging to pull off, especially in a convincing manner.

"There was definitely no [appeal]. Indeed, there was a hack in some regions. In particular, I know that there was a hack on Mir radio and in some networks. Now all this has already been eliminated, taken under control. Services are now sorting it out, " said Peskov told news agency TASS.

While the motive for the hack is not really a mystery, the “how” is a much more interesting question that has no immediate answer.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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