Multiple Russian TV channels were hacked on Monday to display messages warning viewers that their "hands are covered in blood" over Ukraine as they tuned in to watch the Victory Day parade. According to BBC Monitoring, Russian television schedules were hacked to display anti-war messages.
When seen on smart TVs, on-screen program descriptions were substituted with the hackers' text, according to the outlet. The message read: "On your hands is the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and their hundreds of murdered children. TV and the authorities are lying. No to war." Major channels such as Russia-1, Channel 1, and NTV-Plus were all changed, BBC reported.
'No War' Is the Message
With millions watching the Victory Day parade in Moscow on Monday, the names of the program were changed to include messages like "television and the government are lying" and "your hands are covered in blood from the murders of thousands of Ukrainians and their children."
The 'No to War' message also warned viewers that "TV and the authorities lie,' as it featured on schedules and programs across the country, including children's television shows.
Francis Scarr of BBC Monitoring, the BBC's arm that monitors the world's media, tweeted a brief video of a screen showing TV schedules, with the identical text description for each program. The massive hack impacted online viewers of MTS mobile operator, NTV Plus, Rostelecom, and Wink channels.
According to reports, the messages remain displayed between 7 am and 11 am. However, other reports claimed the message was featured from Sunday night.
"Tonight, TV viewers saw provocative anti-war messages instead of the program guide and channel descriptions on their TVs," a tweet from Gazeta.ru said, adding, "MTS, Rostelecom and NTV-Plus, as well as the Yandex TV program, were attacked by hackers."
Viewers who used the Yandex search engine to access Russian defense ministry broadcaster TV Zvezda were also hacked.
The hack certainly is another major humiliation for Russia and Putin given that it happened on Victory Day. "The [TV] provider 'delighted' my child with such a message on children's channels, and then it turned out that the same thing happened on the other channels," tweeted one person in Tyumen in Siberia.
"A cyberattack was carried out on Russian TV broadcasting channels, because of which subscribers could have extremist inscriptions in the broadcast grid," said MTS in Siberia.
"Now our IT specialists are promptly eliminating the consequences of the hack so that subscribers can receive services and watch TV programs and movies as quickly as possible."
Former Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak said some channels have been affected since Sunday. "At night and in the morning, residents of Russia who wanted to watch festive TV programs stumbled upon such messages. I wonder who exactly was hacked. Whose head will fly off his shoulders?" she said.
It's the latest in a slew of hacks on Russian television since the invasion began. In March, the hacking collective Anonymous took over Russia-24, Channel One, and Moscow 24 to broadcast independent coverage of the Ukraine conflict and footage of civilian casualties.
Hackers have been targeting Russia throughout the battle to convey the truth about Putin's horrific invasion to his indoctrinated population.