March 17, 2021
Polish state websites hacked and used to spread false info
Two Polish government websites were hacked Wednesday and used briefly to spread false information about a non-existent radioactive threat, in what a Polish government official said had the hallmarks of a Russian cyberattack.
The National Atomic Energy Agency and Health Ministry websites briefly carried claims of a supposed nuclear waste leak coming from neighboring Lithuania and threatening Poland.
In addition, the Twitter account of a journalist who often writes about Russian and eastern European affairs was also hacked and used to further spread the information.
Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesman for the head of the country's security services, told The Associated Press that "the whole story looked like a typical Russian attempt" to sow suspicion and division among Western allies.
Zaryn said it recalled a similar hacking attempt in 2020 which spread false information about a non-existent radioactive cloud heading to Poland from Chernobyl in Ukraine—the site of a nuclear disaster in the 1980s.
Wednesday's false statement warned that the health and lives of Polish people living in an area close to the Lithuanian border were in danger. But the messages apparently did not receive much notice.
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