Hacked Russian TV and radio stations broadcast startling messages of a nuclear attack and urged residents to put on gas masks and run for cover.
On Thursday, residents in eastern Russia were told to “take potassium iodide pills” and take shelter immediately during the hacked broadcast, according to a report from Metro.
“There was a strike. Urgently go to a shelter,” viewers of TV were told as a map of Russia displayed the country turning red from west to east. “Seal the premises. Use gas masks of all types. In the absence of gas masks, use cotton-gauze bandages.”
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Screens also displayed a black and yellow radiation warning with a message urging people “immediately to shelter.”
The messages were seen on TV and heard on radio stations in the Moscow and Sverdlovsk regions. The messages also interrupted programming in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city.
The hack was widespread enough that it forced the Russian emergency ministry to respond, releasing a statement assuring residents that a “false air raid alert was broadcast in Moscow after servers of radio stations and TV channels were hacked.”
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Hackers have frequently targeted Russians with messages of fake attacks since the country launched its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, including a siren on Feb. 22 broadcasting an “air raid alert” and another broadcasting a “missile threat” less than a week later.
The day before the latest hack, streaming services in Russia were hacked and taken offline during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address on the state of the nation.
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A group named IT Army of Ukraine, which formed shortly after the invasion, claimed credit for the attack on the streaming services, but it has not claimed credit for the more recent dire warning on Russian TV and radio.