“It was about as close as you can get without it going to air.”
That’s how Yigal Unna — the Director General of the Israeli National Cyber Directorate — describes an attempted cyber attack during the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.
Speaking to Nine News Australia, he revealed that the cyber attack would have seen footage of a terror attack broadcast to hundreds of millions around the globe. Authorities managed to block it with just a second to spare.
His disclosure comes during Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University and was meant to illustrate the increasing threats that large-scale events like Eurovision will face in the years ahead.
“Mega events attract a lot of attention from all over the world and people want to abuse this attention,” he told the Australian news outlet.
Semi-Final Cyber Attack
Authorities in Israel were on high alert for the grand final after hackers successfully disrupted the domestic broadcast of Semi-Final 1.
As we reported shortly after the show on May 14, messages briefly appeared during the digital broadcast of the show in Israel. They were meant to whip-up hysteria among viewers and, presumably, foreigners visiting the country.
One message said, “Israel Is NOT Safe. You Will See!” Another said, “Risk of Missile Attack. Please Take Shelter.”
The broadcaster said that it “quickly” corrected the situation. The primary broadcast through television was unaffected.