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Hacking attack prompts Russian regional broadcasters to issue air alert warnings

A hacking attack caused some Russian regional broadcasters to put out a false warning on Tuesday urging people to take shelter from an incoming missile attack, the emergencies ministry said.

“As a result of the hacking of servers of radio stations and TV channels, in some regions of the country information about the announcement of an air alert was broadcast,” the ministry said in a statement.

“This information is false and does not correspond to reality.”

Among the regions where the fake messages were broadcast was Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

On regional TV an image was shown with a symbol of a man running for cover from incoming missiles and a message reading “Everybody to the shelter, now,” according to images posted on social media.

Radio stations played a loud siren sound with a message stating: “Attention, attention. An air alert is being issued. Everybody head to shelters now. Attention, attention. Missile threat.”

Russian state media cited some local officials blaming Ukraine for the messages. There was no official comment from Kyiv.

Gazprom Media, which operates a number of regional TV stations, said its infrastructure had been “attacked” in a statement cited by RIA Novosti.

“Such attacks on our satellite network are becoming part of our everyday work,” the company said.

Several radio stations put out similar warnings last week, and websites run by Russia’s state TV conglomerate went down during President Vladimir Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation address to Russian lawmakers on Feb. 21 in what state media said was a distributed denial of service attack. Reuters

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