Russian cyber hackers could target the Eurovision Song Contest to stop Ukraine from winning the top prize.
Killnet, a group of pro-Putin hackers, is suggesting that it will immobilize online voting servers, in support of the Kalush Orchestra, which represents Ukraine with the song “Stefania” and also the favorite for the top prize.
The group in question has become increasingly popular across Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February. Russia, meanwhile, has been excluded from the big Eurovision contest this year, writes DailyMail.
In a Telegram post with the Eurovision logo, Killnet wrote: “You can not vote online.”
“Maybe our DDOS attack is to blame for everything,” they wrote, The Sun reported.
On Tuesday, the Kalush Orchestra advanced to the first semifinal of the festival, held in Turin, Italy.
Oleh Psiuk, the group’s founding member, said the potential gain of the festival from the Ukrainian state could ‘boost morale’ in Ukraine.
“For our country it is so important to have victory in all ways,” he added.
Their song, “Stefania”, contains the verse: “I will always walk towards you through ruined roads” – and has become even more significant after months of destruction of Ukraine by Russian forces.
“Every year the Eurovision voting system has a wide range of security measures to protect audience participation from external influences,” said a Eurovision spokesman. “This year is no different,” he added.
Last night, Killnet posted a message saying that for another attack ‘it is not worth the time’, reported The Sun.
This comes after pro-Russian hackers attacked the websites of several Italian institutions, including the senate, the ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday.
Killnet took over the attack, said ANSA, which also targeted the National Institutes of Health (ISS) and the Automobile Club d’Italia, a national drivers’ association.
The websites of the senate, the upper house of the Italian parliament and the ISS went online at 20:00 (18:00 local time). An hour ago, it was impossible to access them.
Senate Speaker Elisabetta Casellati said on Twitter that the hacker attack had caused no harm.
“These are serious incidents, which should not be underestimated,” she wrote.
The Ministry of Defense, whose website was not available, said in a statement that this was ‘due to the long-planned maintenance activities that are continuing on the website’.
A source in the Italian cyber security agency said they were working with the affected administrations to restore the websites, suggesting “the first appropriate technical countermeasures”.
Police said an investigation was ongoing but made no further comment.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, many Western governments have raised alarm levels in anticipation of possible cyber attacks on IT systems and infrastructure.
In late March, Italian railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) temporarily suspended some ticketing services for fear it would be targeted by a cyber attack.
In April, the Ministry of Ecology Transition said it had to shut down all of its IT systems due to external threats.
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