Hackers broadcast fake Putin video message declaring martial law in several Russian territories

Image of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Image of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Credit: Harold Escalona/Shutterstock.com

Hackers have managed to broadcast a fake video message using imagery of Vladimir Putin ‘announcing’ martial law in several Russian territories.

In the ’emergency address’ to the nation on television and radio channels, the ‘President’ announced the introduction of martial law in the Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk regions. He also ‘reported’ on a counter-offensive launched by Ukrainian forces.

‘Putin’ said: “Russians, brothers and sisters, today at 4 am, Ukrainian troops, armed by the NATO bloc, with the consent and support of Washington, invaded the territories of the Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk regions”.

“Our border guards and armed forces gave a worthy rebuff to the superior forces of the aggressor. Martial law has been introduced on the territory of these regions by my decree”, it continued.

“Also today I will sign a decree on general mobilisation since in order to defeat a dangerous and insidious enemy, we need to combine all forces. The enemy will be defeated, and victory will be ours”, the message concluded, as reported by gazeta.ru.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press secretary, immediately blamed the broadcast on hackers and assured the situation was now completely under control. The relevant departments are investigating the incident he added.

“There was definitely no appeal. Indeed, in some regions, there was a hack. In particular, I know that there was a hack on ‘Mir’ and some other networks. Now all this has already been eliminated, and taken under control. Services are now sorting it out”, Peskov stated.

This is not the first hacking of the Russian radio airwaves after the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Similar attacks on the Russian broadcasting infrastructure began immediately after the start of the invasion on February 24, 2022.

On February 26, the international hacker group Anonymous, during a cyber operation, intruded on the air of a number of political TV channels of some cable and satellite operators. These affected the TV channels Mir, NTV, NTV-Mir, Channel One, Channel Five, Ren-TV, and Russia-1.

The next hack happened on May 6, when the hackers interrupted the broadcast of the Moscow-24 and Channel One TV channels.

Again on the night of May 9, unknown hackers infiltrated Russian Smart TV services and satellite television. The operators ‘MTS’, ‘Rostelecom’, and ‘NTV-Plus’ were attacked.

According to MTS, the problem arose in almost all regions where the company was operating. Then, messages containing provocative content about the conflict appeared during programmes and descriptions of channels. In addition, the Yandex TV program was hacked.

Kommersant FM radio station was hacked on June 8, 2022. Unknown people hacked it and played the Ukrainian anthem. ‘The radio station has been hacked’, Kommersant FM said in a report.

In addition to the Ukrainian anthem, anti-war songs were played on the air. The hacking was only noticeable though in the mobile version of their site.

Later, in a conversation with TASS, the editor-in-chief of the radio station, Alexei Vorobyov, clarified that the broadcast was hacked only on the internet. This did not affect the work of the radio station’s on-air broadcasting.

On September 26, the Russian radio stations Nashe Radio, Rock FM and Radio Jazz, which are part of Multimedia Holding, were attacked.

It was noted that the attackers managed to paralyze the radio company’s servers. Broadcasting was moved to reserve capacity, live broadcasts were cancelled, and only music was broadcast.

Allegedly, the hackers introduced an encryption program that paralyzed access to databases, the file system of all holding services, and corporate mail.

In addition, a major attack occurred on February 23, 2023. On that occasion, Ukrainian hackers hit the Sputnik and Vera radio stations in several regions of Crimea. For a short time, the address of the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence, Kirill Budanov, was broadcast there.

As reported by radio station employees, the Ukrainian anthem was played on the air, and Budanov warned that Donbas, Crimea, and other regions would return to Ukraine. He also threatened that the Kyiv authorities would find ‘every traitor’ and destroy them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com