Italian Police Safeguard the Eurovision Song Contest Balloting from Russian Hackers

  • Last updated May 16, 2022
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Cyberattacks by pro-Russian groups were thwarted by Italian police during the May 10th semifinal and the May 14th final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, as reported by authorities.

On May 15th, during the voting and performances of the contestants, the police reported that they held off numerous cyberattacks which were supposedly carried out on network infrastructure. The hackers belonged to the group Killnet and its affiliate, Legion. The location of these hackers was also traced by surveilling through Telegram channels that are affiliated with these hacker groups.

Apparently, the hacker group had threatened to “send 10 billion requests” to Eurovision’s online voting system and to “add votes to some other country.”

The Ukrainian President expressed his emotions by saying:

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! I thank the Kalush Orchestra for this victory and everyone who gave us your votes! I am sure that the sound of victory in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”

The Eurovision Song Contest was won by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra with their entry Stefania on May 15th.

Ever since the Russians invaded Ukraine in late February, many Western governments have been on high alert in case Russia tries to cyberattack the IT systems of other countries.

Just last week, pro-Russian hackers targeted the websites of various Italian institutions, including the Senate and the Defense Ministry. Although the attack didn’t compromise the infrastructure, it did hinder access to a number of websites, including the National Institute of Health.

According to the Italian media, pro-Kremlin group Killnet claimed responsibility for the cyberattack.

Last month, the same notorious hacker gang targeted Romanian government websites. Because Romania offered their support in Ukraine’s war against Russia. It was reported by the country’s national cybersecurity agency.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appreciated Ukraine’s win in the Eurovision Song Contest and also mentioned how the win posed a “reflection” of their “unwavering support.”

He tweeted:

“Congratulations to Ukraine for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. It is a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom.”

Britain’s Sam Ryder was the runner-up for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

In the thank you note, Kalush Orchestra said:

“Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukrayini!” (Glory to Ukraine!)

Russia was banned from this year’s Eurovision competition because of its invasion of Ukraine. According to a move organizers, it was done to promote diversity and friendship among nations during the contest and keep it away from political debacles.

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