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Italian police say pro-Russian hackers attempted to stop Ukraine winning Eurovision

By | Published on Tuesday 17 May 2022

Ukraine win Eurovision 2022

Italian police have revealed that they fended off various cyber attacks against last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest. The authorities say that two pro-Russian hacker groups attempted to disrupt semi-final and grand final voting in order to prevent Ukraine from winning the competition.

According to Reuters, the Italian police’s cybersecurity department blocked a number of attacks and monitored hacker Telegram channels in order to prevent others. As well as attempting to disrupt Eurovision, hackers also targeted the websites of a number of Italian institutions last week, including those of the Senate and National Health Institute.

Despite these attacks, Ukraine did still go on to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest by a wide margin, in no small part thanks to the public vote.

That does not mean, however, that there were no issues with this year’s Eurovision voting. Following the event, it was announced that the jury votes from six countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and San Marino – had been rejected on the night due to “irregular voting patterns” and “suspected attempts to manipulate the voting”.

A spokesperson for Contest organiser the European Broadcast Union said that it had “worked with its voting partner to calculate substitute aggregated results for each country concerned”. A new set of points were “calculated based on the results of other countries with similar voting records”, and it was those points that were then announced on the night.

During the Eurovision programme, the scores from three of those countries – Azerbaijan, Romania and Georgia – were announced by the Contest’s Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl, rather than a representative of the country. At the time this was put down to “technical difficulties”, although Azerbaijan’s broadcaster İctimai Television said that it had “categorically refused” to read out the new scores imposed on it by the EBU.

Further details on why the EBU took the decision not to accept the six jury votes have not been made public, although it is rumoured that the suspicion was that the countries involved had agreed to vote for each other in order to boost their scores.

According to i, if all the votes had been counted as originally submitted, the UK would have come third, rather than second, once the jury and public votes were combined.