People living in the east of Russia have once again been targeted in a television and radio hack, apparently suggesting they had been subject to a nuclear attack.
It is the third time media stations in the country have broadcast hoax warnings in just over two weeks.
On February 22, a fake civil defence siren said an ‘air raid alert’ was in effect, while another on February 28 said there was a ‘missile threat’.
Today’s message, however, included a chilling new detail – an instruction for those listening to ‘take potassium iodide pills’, which are typically used in radiation emergencies.
Those watching television saw a map of Russia gradually turning red from west to east, as a voice said: ‘There was a strike. Urgently go to a shelter.
‘Seal the premises. Use gas masks of all types. In the absence of gas masks, use cotton-gauze bandages.’
Screens also flashed up with a black and yellow radiation warning sign and a message saying: ‘Everyone immediately to shelter.’
According to reports, the images interrupted TV and radio programmes in Moscow and the Sverdlovsk region, including the country’s fourth-largest city Yekaterinburg.
Russia’s emergencies ministry said: ‘A false air raid alert was broadcast in Moscow after servers of radio stations and TV channels were hacked.’
While the hoax alerts only appeared for the first time last month, cyber attacks have been a regular occurrence since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.
A day before the first false broadcast, hackers launched an attack on streaming services that were showing Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation address, taking it offline.
Media outlets owned by All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VG TRK), a state broadcaster, were targeted during the speech.
Responsibility for that effort was claimed by the IT Army of Ukraine, an organisation that formed soon after the invasion.
However, no indication has yet been given of who is behind the television and radio hacks.
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