Hackers Send Fake Election Boycott Newsletter on behalf of The Bell | News from Germany about Russia | DW

The computer systems of the online edition The Bell were hacked by hackers. The team of journalists announced this on Thursday, September 2, in Telegram.

“We were hacked again. Our subscribers have just received a mailing list with a strange provocative text that we did not write or send,” the editorial notice says.

The Bell subscribers received an appeal under the guise of a morning mailing, which states that the “boycott of the elections” on September 17-19 is “the only correct decision.” The text sent by the hackers calls for three options: not to come to the polls, or come and spoil the ballot, or vote for any party other than United Russia. In addition, voters are offered not to vote through the “Gosuslugi” portal.

“The opposition in the Russian Federation is practically destroyed”

The text of the “mailing list” states that “the opposition in the Russian Federation has practically been destroyed”, and it is also recommended “as a sign of solidarity with the editorial board” to go to a single picket on September 19 demanding fair elections.

The Bell journalists noted that they understand what happened and ask for forgiveness from their audience. The newsletter was not published on The Bell’s website and social networks.

The editorial board believes that hackers did not gain access to subscriber data

The editorial office clarifies that the current information about the attack indicates that “the attackers did not get access to the subscribers’ data.”

The Bell: The publication does not participate in political activities

The staff of the publication also emphasized that The Bell “does not participate in political activities and never encourages readers to take any action.”

“Our only task is to provide you with objective information,” the publication’s website says.

Not the first cyberattack

In mid-August it became known that the criminals were trying to hack the phone and get access to the data of the special correspondent of The Bell Irina Pankratova. As noted in the editorial office, apparently, the attackers, using a fake power of attorney, ordered the detailing of her calls and messages for almost two years. The reporter linked the incident to her investigations.

Later, on August 25, The Bell reported an external attack on its website that stopped opening it.

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