Pro-Russian hackers thwarted during Eurovision final, Italy says

Luca Bruno / Associated Press
Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine celebrate after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico arena, in Turin, Italy, Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Italian authorities say they stopped pro-Russian hacker groups from interrupting the Eurovision Song Contest’s May 10 semi-final and Saturday final in Turin.

The police cybersecurity department blocked attempted hacks from groups known as “Killnet” and “Legion.” Those efforts came during voting and performances before Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra ultimately claimed victory, according to Reuters.

Ahead of the contest’s final, the pro-Russia “Killnet” group said it would “send 10 billion requests” to the Eurovision online voting system and “add votes to some other country,” according to Forbes.

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.”

The Killnet group first emerged in March, not long after Russia began its unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.

The same hacking groups have also targeted the Italian parliament and military websites and threatened to go after the United Kingdom’s National Health Service last week, Forbes reported. 

But the Italian police successfully thwarted the attack, and Kalush Orchestra won the competition with the song, “Stefania.”

Though the song was written by the group’s front man, Oleg Psiuk, as a tribute to his mother, it has since become a war anthem.

“I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,” the lyrics say.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the victory, which marked the third time Ukraine has won the competition. 

 “I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off,” Zelensky said in a Telegram post. 

Tags Eurovision Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

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