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Russian hacking attempt fails, but fake election news airs

Russian hacking attempt fails, but fake election news airs
Central Election Commission Chairman Mykhaylo Okhendovsky

The news report by Russian Public Television (ORT) Channel One about the alleged victory of Dmytro Yarosh (head of the Right Sector — Ed.) in the presidential elections in Ukraine was the result of a planned and prepared provocation against Ukraine and not the result of error or technological failure, Ukrainian officials say.

The news agency Ukrinform reports that sources in the Security Service of Ukraine have stated that the provocation centered around an attempted hacking of the election site.

“The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, together with Ukrainian IT specialists, found, localized and finally neutralized a virus designed to interfere with the post-election counting of votes on the Central Election Committee site. Specifically, the plan was for Dmytro Yarosh to win, showing a 37% return, the equivalent of 19 million voters,” an SBU source told Ukrinform.

The source said the virus was neutralized about 40 minutes before the Channel One news report went on the air. Obviously, operatives in Moscow did not learn of this development in time, since Channel One proceeded to announce the “fake” news that in reality never took place.

According to Kostyantyn Khivrenko, head of media relations for the Central Election Commission (CEC), the cynical lie distributed once again by Channel One was yet another element in the information war against Ukraine, in addition to the “hot” war taking place in the eastern regions of the country.

This view was confirmed by the head of the Central Election Commission Mykhaylo Okhendovsky at a press briefing at the CEC headquarters on Monday, May 26.

“Indeed, according to our colleagues, certain provocations were being prepared, including the use of the CEC site. But these groups were not able to break into the system and gain illegal entry to our website. In my view, other groups simply carried out their part of the assignment regarding the distribution of certain information, supposedly citing the CEC,” he said.

Okhendovsky noted that this situation made it possible to draw certain conclusions regarding the wide range of people who could have been involved in the attempts to break into the system “Election” and interfere with its operation. However, he confirmed that all the attacks had been unsuccessful and that the system is operating normally.

As previously reported, according to preliminary results of the exit polls, the leader of the Right Sector Dmytro Yarosh was not even included in the top ten candidates for the presidency and received less than 1 percent of the vote.

Note: The Right Sector is a Ukrainian nationalist organization that is repeatedly cited by Russian media as typical of the supposed “fascist” nature of Ukraine’s pro-Western forces.

Translated and edited by Anna Mostovych




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