Image: Komarov Egor

Pro-Ukraine hackers claim attack on Russian TV broadcasts

Pro-Ukrainian hackers on Sunday took credit for breaching Russian TV channels and broadcasting anti-war messages comparing Russia’s attack on Ukraine to the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York. 

Members of a pro-Ukrainian hacktivist group called "hdr0" said on Telegram that several Russian channels, including Channel One Russia, Russia-24, and Russia-1 were affected by the hack. The group did not provide details about how they carried out the attack or how many people saw the message. 

However, it would not be the first time hacktivists have targeted Russian TV channels. In May, hackers replaced broadcasts of Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day parade in Moscow — commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II — with an antiwar message that read: “The blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of murdered children is on your hands.”

The hacked broadcast over the weekend showed footage of Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and excerpts from interviews with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other world leaders condemning Russia for the violence in Ukraine.

“Once the world saw the face of terrorism but did not recognize its real owner,” the message said. “The world was looking for it in Afghanistan, Iraq… but the terrorist was initially located in Moscow.”

“They [Russians] are finally seeing the truth, whether they like it or not.”

Last week, the group claimed to have hacked into a Russian television station in Crimea to broadcast a public address by Zelensky. They also called on the local population to act in case the Ukrainian military takes control of the region.

A similar attack on Russian TV in Crimea took place in August: hackers broadcasted a Zelensky speech, followed by the words: “Crimea is Ukrainian land.”

Pro-Kremlin hackers are also following a similar playbook. In July, two radio stations owned by one of Ukraine’s largest broadcasters were hacked to spread fake messages that Zelensky was hospitalized and in critical condition.

In June, hackers attacked the Ukrainian streaming service and replaced the broadcast of a football match between Ukraine and Wales with Russian propaganda. In February, Ukraine’s national public broadcaster suffered a distributed denial-of-service attack, according to its general producer Dmytro Khorkin. 

“Russia has been attacking us all the time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine,” he told The Record in an interview following the incident.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.