TV service in UAE hacked to show alleged atrocities in Palestine

Siva Ramakrishnan
A group of hackers targeted a television service in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, replacing the original broadcast with graphic footage from the war between Israel and Hamas.

A group of hackers targeted a television service in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, replacing the original broadcast with graphic footage from the war between Israel and Hamas.

Several UAE citizens affected by the hack told the Dubai-based newspaper Khaleej Times that television programs aired on European live channels, including BBC News, were interrupted on Sunday night by an announcement from hackers.

“We have no choice but to hack to deliver this message to you,” said a note on the screen, placed against a Matrix-like green and black background.

Then, according to the recordings obtained by Khaleej Times, the message was replaced by a fake news broadcast featuring an AI-generated news anchor who showed alleged atrocities committed by Israel’s military.

Those who saw this footage said that it was “graphic,” “surreal,” and “scary” as it showed children and women in Israeli prisons.

According to reports, the hackers targeted an unnamed local set-top box provider, who confirmed to the concerned subscribers that its live channels were hacked, and it is currently investigating the attack. As of Monday morning, the incident still hasn’t been resolved.

It’s unclear which hacker group is responsible for this incident and how many people saw the footage, but such politically-motivated attacks are common during war.

Earlier in September, members of a pro-Ukrainian hacktivist group breached several Russian TV channels, replacing their original content with anti-war messages comparing Russia’s attack on Ukraine to the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.

In May, hackers replaced broadcasts of Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day parade in Moscow — commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II — with an antiwar message.

The UAE was likely targeted by hackers as the country’s leaders recently announced plans to maintain diplomatic ties with Israel while also calling for an end to the violence in Palestine.

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Daryna Antoniuk
is a freelance reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.

 

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