Ukrainian media group TAVR Media was hacked to spread fake news about President Zelensky being in critical condition and under intensive care. The media outlet confirmed the breach on Thursday and added that the information spread by the attackers was fake.
Zelensky refuted the claims through Instagram, uploading a video and stating that he’s doing fine.
The State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSCIP) also confirmed the attack, stating that TAVR’s media servers and broadcasting systems were hacked to spread the fake news and that the issue is being addressed by “competent authorities”.
The media group is one of the largest in Ukraine, managing over nine major radio stations, including Hit FM, Radio ROKS, KISS FM, Radio RELAX, Melody FM, Nashe Radio, Radio JAZZ, Classic Radio and Radio Bayraktar.
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Russia’s spreading misinformation campaign
This isn’t the first misinformation campaign attempting to derail the Ukrainian resistance. Following Russia’s invasion, Facebook removed a deepfake video of Zelensky where he was allegedly telling Ukrainian troops to stand down and surrender. The video was first shared on Ukraine 24’s website following a breach and was later spread to other hacked news sites in the country.
This wasn’t the only video Facebook had to remove either. The social media platform also took down accounts of Belarusian hacking group Ghostwriter that targeted Ukrainian officials and soldiers while spreading fake videos showing Ukrainian soldiers surrendering to the Russian army.
Ukraine’s Stratcom Centre had issued a warning in March of Russia’s tactics of using extremely accurate deepfake videos generated from different machine learning algorithms that are “almost impossible to distinguish” from the real ones.