Russia Says ‘Fake’ Putin Address Declaring Martial Law Was a ‘Hack’ | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Over the weekend, the voice and likeness of Vladimir Putin appeared on radio and television stations in three regions along Russia’s border with Ukraine. According to Meduza, Putin told people that Ukraine had invaded Russian territory. He declared martial law, promised a general mobilization of the country, and urged residents to evacuate deep into Russia. According to Russian authorities, the broadcast was a fake and the result of a hack.

The message played over radios and TVs in the Belgodor, Rostov, and Voronezh regions of Russia. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, confirmed that the message was the result of a hack. “There was definitely no [appeal],” Peskov told state owned news agency TASS. “In particular, I know that there was a hack on Mir radio.” Peskov said that everything was back under control and that the services were sorting everything out.

“All of these messages are an utter fake,” state-owned news agency RIA reported Peskov as saying.

According to Agence France-Presse, the Belgorod region administrative center said the message was a “deepfake,” meaning it was AI-generated. Motherboard could not confirm the nature of the hoax. 

The hacking coincided with what appears to be the beginning of Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia. On Monday, Moscow said it had defeated a major Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region. Kyiv said this was a lie. Ukraine is shelling Belgorod, one of the regions that was hacked, after anti-Putin militias claimed to liberate a city in the region.

Kyiv said there would be no official announcement of the counteroffensive. On June 4, Kyiv’s Ministry of Defense released an ad showing Ukrainian soldiers holding a finger to their lips, urging silence. “There will be no announcement about the start,” the ad said.

“Words are very unnecessary,” Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s Minister of Defense said in a tweet sharing the video. “They can only do harm.” He was quoting the song “Enjoy the Silence” by English band Depeche Mode.


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