Russian hackers breach Latvian TV to show Victory Day parade in Moscow


Thousands of Latvians woke up Thursday to watch the Victory Day military parade in Moscow – involuntarily. Riga says that Russian hackers hijacked the transmissions.

During the cyberattack, television channels broadcast by the communications operator Balticom were affected – the firm temporarily lost control of television retransmissions, Ivars Abolinš, the chairman of the National Electronic Mass Media Council, said.

The culprit is probably Russia, as during the attack, a May 9th military parade outside the Kremlin in Moscow was shown on air on all Balticom’s rebroadcast television programs.

Apparently, the hackers didn’t attack Balticom directly. According to Latvian officials, they targeted a content delivery partner – an interactive TV server based in Bulgaria – and Balticom then retransmitted the changed content.

“This is not a cyberattack targeting Latvian infrastructure. It’s part of the Russian hybrid war, and such provocations are likely to continue in the future,” said Cert.lv, an Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution.

The provocation didn’t last long. Authorities say that the live footage of the parade in Moscow was seen by only around 5% of Balticom’s subscribers. Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany on May 9th every year.

Cert.lv is investigating the incident in cooperation with Balticom. However, it’s still not clear how exactly the hackers were able to breach the servers in Bulgaria.

Nevertheless, it’s already the second such incident in a short time. On April 17th, songs and propaganda clips from Russian artists were played on the Tet platform during a live broadcast of the Ukrainian channel Freedom. The manipulated broadcast lasted for 20 minutes.


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