In Russia, Firmware Prank Displays ‘Slava Ukraini’ on LED Curtain — Police Arrest Apartment Owner


The owner of an apartment in Veliky Novgorod, Russia, was arrested for discrediting the country’s armed forces after a neighbor alerted police to the message “Slava Ukraini” scrolling across his LED curtains.

When police went to the scene, they saw the garland that the owner had hung to celebrate the New Year and a “slogan glorifying the Ukrainian armed forces”, as a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense said. Inside the official press agency. TASS.

The apartment owner said the garland was supposed to display a greeting message “Happy New Year,” TASS reported.

Several other people in Russia describe a similar experience on the AlexGyver web forum, linked to a popular DIY blog in the country. They said that on New Year’s Eve, at exactly midnight, their LED curtains also began displaying the message “Glory to Ukraine” in Ukrainian.

It is unclear whether any of these other posters were also arrested. The man from Veliky Novgorod will have to defend his case in court, according to TASS. The police seized the curtain itself.

An independent investigation into the cause of the post by forum users AlexGyver found that the affected curtains all used the same open source firmware code.

The original code appears to have come from Ukraine before someone created a fork translated into Russian. According to Telegram channel for AlexGyver, the code had been added to the original project on October 18, and then in December, the people or person running the fork had copied and pasted this update into their own version.

“Everyone who downloaded and updated the firmware in December received a gift,” the Telegram channel wrote. The message was “truly encrypted, hidden from the ‘reader’ of the code, and is displayed on the first day of the year exclusively for residents of Russia by (geographic region).”

Oleg Shakirov, an independent Russian cyber policy researcher, compared social networks the LED incident to other examples of manipulation of open source software in the context of the protest against the invasion of Ukraine.

These included an intentional modification to the node-ipc JavaScript library that checked whether its host machine was using an IP address based in Russia or Belarus, and whether it overwrote all files on the device with a heart symbol, like reported by The Register.

Beyond the consequences for the arrested man, the LED prank is unlikely to be remembered as one of the most significant cyberactions of the Russia-Ukraine war, even if it highlights the Potential vulnerabilities caused by software dependencies.

Last month, a investigation Radio Free Europe reported that Russian intelligence services may have obtained video footage from thousands of Ukrainian surveillance cameras equipped with Russian software known as Trassir.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian security officers said they took down two online surveillance cameras that were would have been hacked by Russia to spy on the air defense forces and critical infrastructure of the Ukrainian capital, kyiv.

Numerous supply chain attacks have been seen during the conflict, including against Google’s Mandiant unit last year. warning that hackers were targeting Ukrainian government networks using fake Windows installers.

In March last year, Rosaviatsia, responsible for regulating civil aviation in Russia, should have moved to pen and paper after a reported attack on the supply chain, resulting in the collapse of its entire network and the loss of over a year’s worth of emails. The agency denied this information.

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Alexandre Martin

Alexander Martin is the UK editor of Recorded Future News. He was previously a technology journalist for Sky News and is also a member of the European Cyber ​​Conflict Research Initiative.

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