Millions of Russians were faced with a message condemning Putin’s war crimes in Ukraine after a major TV listings system was hacked during his Victory Day celebrations.
Programme titles and previews on various channels were replaced with text stating: ‘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.’
It meant Russian viewers tuning into the Kremlin’s state broadcasters to watch the annual Red Square military parade were confronted with the hackers’ warning.
The message also appeared on kids’ TV channel Carousel during a morning broadcast of hit Russian cartoon series Masha and the Bear.
The hack is thought to have impacted customers of at least four major providers accessing a variety of channels via internet connections, suggesting the vast majority of smart and digital TVs in Russia may have been affected.
Three of the providers are owned by the Russian government, while the fourth is owned by multibillionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov and his son Felix.
Viewers first spotted the message on Sunday night and it continued to be displayed on Monday morning, according to former Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak.
She added: ‘I wonder who exactly was hacked. Whose head will fly off his shoulders?’
Olga Ivanova, a customer of state-owned NTV Plus said the hack also affected her satellite TV system.
She said: ‘The same s*** is happening there on every channel. It is not on all MTS channels but on many for several hours.
‘I switched on the TV at 7am, it was already like that, and stopped only at 11.’
A parent in the Siberian city of Tyumen said her child had seen the message while watching TV and that it appeared on various other channels.
MTS, the provider owned by the Yevtushenkov family, said: ‘A cyberattack was carried out on Russian TV broadcasting channels, because of which subscribers could have extremist inscriptions in the broadcast grid.
‘Now our IT specialists are promptly eliminating the consequences of hack so that subscribers can receive services and watch TV programs and movies as quickly as possible.’
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