Pro-Russian hacker groups were prevented from disrupting the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final and final in Turin on May 10 and Saturday, according to Italian authorities.
As reported, “Killnet” and “Legion” attempted attacks were thwarted by the police cybersecurity section. These efforts were made during voting and performances before the Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine was declared the winner.
It was also reported that the pro-Russian “Killnet” organisation stated it would “send 10 billion requests” to the Eurovision online voting system and include votes to some other country ahead of the contest’s final.
Additionally, a spokesperson for Eurovision told the Daily Mail its “voting system has a wide range of security measures in place to protect the audience participation from outside influences”.
However, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated the victory, which was Ukraine’s third in the competition. He said in a Telegram post, “I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”
In April, this group of hackers conducted a cyberattack on websites belonging to several Italian institutions.
As a result of the attack, websites belonging to Italy’s defence ministry, Senate and National Health Institute were not functioning. The Defence Ministry’s website was down due to “maintenance,” and the Senate’s website was also unavailable.
Additionally, the Romanian Intelligence Service stated last month that Killnet claimed responsibility for the so-called distributed denial-of-service attack, which began at 4 am local time on April 29. Its defence ministry, border police, railway firm CFR Calatori, and a financial institution had their websites taken down for many hours as a result of the cyberattack.
However, the other hacking group called Legion is the same group which gained access to the Twitter accounts of a few prominent Indians in 2016, notable among whom were Vijay Mallya, Barkha Dutt, and Ravish Kumar.
It is speculated that the group got its name from the tagline of Anonymous, a well-known hacker group. Anonymous’ tagline is “We are Anonymous, we are legion, we don’t forgive, we don’t forget.”
It is noteworthy that western governments have been on high alert for cyberattacks on public institutions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And the concerns don’t seem to be completely baseless.
Earlier this month, Russian hackers reportedly threatened to target Britain’s NHS. After this, according to resent reports, in the UK, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has placed the country on high espionage alert.