back to article Kremlin claims Ukraine hackers behind fake missile strike alerts

Millions of Russians in almost a dozen cities throughout the country were greeted Wednesday morning by radio alerts, text messages, and sirens warning of an air raid or missile strikes that never occurred. The warnings were later blamed on hackers. According to reports from news operations in Russia, a woman's voice was …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The alarm signals transmitted on the air do not correspond [to] reality."

    Maybe they were talking about RT here? It's hard to tell.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      To that you can add that the Russian population has been under attack from its government for years.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        But they love it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "But they love it."

          but...I find it strange that such crazy, despotic "leaders of men" (sic) as have been or are in charge of their country can have so many followers/supporters, to the point that said leaders are almost above the law and can get away with anything (or at least try).

          One can point to such people such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Ayotallah Khomeini, Ceausescu. Marcos, Pinochet, Mugabe, etc etc etc...(though I guess it helps, if you control the military and police forces to help quell any opponents).

          And now it is perhaps time to add Putin to this list?

          (If I've missed out anyone, please feel free to reply - I know of more, but then most people can think of others...so I'll leave it to you to highlight any specific additions).

          1. ElPedro100

            Upvote for remembering so many of them that I had forgotten. Unfortunately what is going on now is not the first time and more than likely won't be the last.

          2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            It's fascism, son. Why do people like it? Because the Leader is For You and is Against Those Not Like You. So don't worry! The Leader is For You! ...as long as You are for The Leader, of course.

            See also "religion".

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              It needn't be fascism. Cults of personality and of ideology can be organized around a lot of possible ideas. Fascism is a particular type of government and economic system, and many authoritarian rulers don't or didn't employ it.

        2. rcxb Silver badge

          Putin has had many years to effectively suppress all opposition leaders and media. And even with that, I believe the stats given by Nina Khrushcheva were that about 25% of Russians support Putin, 15% oppose Putin, and the rest just go along so as not to get thrown in prison and tortured.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Update on this: there are reports that Russia is planning full-blown "false flag" (Russian soldiers dressed Ukrainian ones) attacks on its own citizens to stir things up. They're currently close to the Russian-Ukrainian border but it wouldn't surprise me to see them turn up in Moldova, especially Transnitria.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If it's true that's a new low, even for the Russians!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Its Russia. Putin reportedly had an apartment building blown up, so no, not really.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Update on this: there are reports that Russia is planning full-blown "false flag" (Russian soldiers dressed Ukrainian ones) attacks on its own citizens to stir things up. They're currently close to the Russian-Ukrainian border but it wouldn't surprise me to see them turn up in Moldova, especially Transnitria.

          Wow, you've managed to completely invert reality. The original report actually came from the Russian MoD claiming Ukrainian forces were planning to attack Transnistria wearing Russian uniforms. Which makes a lot more sense than your version given Russian forces would have to cross Ukraine undetected to enter territory they already control. But currently have problems reinforcing. It also makes more sense for Ukraine to be trying to seize the huge stockpiles of former Soviet weapons and ammunitiion stockpiled there. So if Ukraine tried this, and obvious counter would be for Russians/Transnistrians to DIP it and that would make a very large bang.

          (Also leave Moldova alone. It has enough problems on it's own, and produces some excellent wines. Plus it's got the perfect bug-out bunker in the form of the world's largest wine caves. What better place to ride out the apocalypse?)

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Newsflash -- Russian and UKA forces wear the same uniforms, that is "they dress the same". That's why you see colored bands on their arms or helmets (the UKA uses blue).

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Newsflash -- Russian and UKA forces wear the same uniforms, that is "they dress the same".

              Yep. Intentionally dressing as your opponent is a war crime. Not the reason why we ended up being called "Perfidious Albion". It's one of those legal areas that could probably do with some clarification as a result of this conflict, eg-

              Article 39. – Emblems of nationality

              1. It is prohibited to make use in an armed conflict of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

              Yet there are plenty of pictures of soldiers, especially in Ukraine's 'International' brigades wearing US, British or other nation's recognition patches who aren't parties to the conflict. Sometimes not even bothering to wear the subdued versions. Ukraine did attempt to tighten up their recruiting standards though, or just put those extra 'special' operators into disposable units. But I guess recognition gets more challenging in a situation like this. Not sure if Ukraine started out with it's own distinct uniform or camo patterns, but since then, it's been given stacks of uniforms from a variety of nations. I guess it'd make it easier if we could go back to the days of Redcoats vs Bluecoats, but then that's one of the reasons why various miltaries figured out that camo was actually a good idea.

              That's why you see colored bands on their arms or helmets (the UKA uses blue).

              Various colors have been used and sometimes changed. Like during the opening weeks, Russia wore white bands. That lead to some confusion about who may have been the victims or perpetrators of previous alleged war crimes.

              1. Sandtitz Silver badge
                FAIL

                "Russia wore white bands. That lead to some confusion about who may have been the victims or perpetrators of previous alleged war crimes."

                No. There's only deliberate, malevolent confusion from the usual mouthpieces.

                Russia is the perp and Ukraine has had plenty of war crime victims so far.

                Also, you handily forgot that in 2014 the Russian troops didn't wear any insignia when they took Crimea.

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  At first, I thought the post was referring to reports from civilians that they were forced to wear the same bands that Russian soldiers were wearing, thus meaning that they were more likely to be killed accidentally by Ukrainian forces; still the Russian's intentionally murdering people, but using others' weapons to do it. Then I went back and saw the username.

                2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Russia is the perp and Ukraine has had plenty of war crime victims so far.

                  Sadly, there are millions of victims of war crimes across the world. Issue is defining war crimes, and then ensuring the laws are applied equally and consistently. But the flag thing to identify lawful vs unlawful combatants has been in the Geneva Convention since it's inception. It's also where the term 'false flag' originates.

                  Meanwhile, back to the story-

                  Millions of Russians in almost a dozen cities throughout the country were greeted Wednesday morning by radio alerts, text messages, and sirens warning of an air raid or missile strikes that never occurred. The warnings were later blamed on hackers.

                  Which is another issue that probably needs to be clarified. If those were official Ukrainian hackers, then that's fine because they're obviously already parties to the conflict. If they were civilian hackers doing their own thing, then they've become combatants, and thus targets. If they're using infrastructure to attack critical infrastructure, then the infrastructure used to conduct the attacks can also be a lawful target. Where it probably gets more murky is if they're not Ukrainian. We've already had our leaders declare that cyberattacks are hostile actions, and they're probably right. But would that (or should that) mean if NATO country official hackers run cyber attacks against Russia, then has NATO become a party to the conflict? Either way, it invites retaliation, or escalation, neither of which would be a good thing.

              2. ElPedro100

                War crime? Ok, let's go and illegally invade another country, kill loads of their people but hey chaps, make sure that you stick to the rules eh? Wouldn't want anyone to think we were cheating.

                This is not a game. The whole "special military operation" is a crime. Maybe 500 years ago it was acceptable. Not now.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  War crime? Ok, let's go and illegally invade another country, kill loads of their people but hey chaps, make sure that you stick to the rules eh? Wouldn't want anyone to think we were cheating.

                  Nations have always cheated. But then following WW2, OK, some elements pre-dated that, Nations decided to bring an end to war. Or at least formalise it a bit and came up with things like the UN, and 'International Law'. Law traditionally has been a set of rules that define what we should or shouldn't do, and potential punishments. Then the law is supposed to be applied equally, but it isn't.

                  If it's a crime for me to drive at 150mph, it should be a crime for you if you do the same.

                  If I invade and occupy a small country and that's 'illegal', it should be illegal for other countries to do the same thing. Which is also where terminology and lawfare comes in. We've invaded numerous countries over the last few decades, so Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and many, many more. Those have been 'legal', mainly because they haven't been wars and the UN's Article 51 provisions have been abused. Justice should mean that if it's legal for us to do it, it's legal for Russia to do it, however much we might not like that.

                  Then laws need courts. So recently Biden called for the International Criminal Court to convict Putin. The ICC was set up as a venue to prosecute war crimes. I thought Biden's statement might have also meant the US had decided to recognise the ICC's jurisdiction and judgements.. But not so. The US withdrew because it didn't want it's citizens (or more importantly, politicians) prosecuted and convicted in 'political' trials. Russia also withdrew for much the same reason, and Ukraine has signed but never ratified the Rome Statute, even though it's been promising to make the required constitutional changes since 2016. And it'll have to do this before it can join the EU as it's a precondition.

                  So it's a little hypocritical to demand ICC prosecution when none of the parties to the conflict currently recognise the court. There are however probably good reasons. Any criminal lawyer (no pun intended) knows that opening an investigation can be dangerous. Courts are supposed to be neutral, independent and follow the evidence and law wherever it goes. So in this context-

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court_investigation_in_Ukraine

                  The International Criminal Court investigation in Ukraine or the Situation in Ukraine is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have occurred since 21 November 2013..

                  That can't (or shouldn't) be limited to crimes by one specific party, ie Russia, but any party from 2013 to now. The door has been opened to investigate any crime. If that's restricted to just one party, then obviously the ICC is political, and a waste of time. But this is how justic is supposed to work, even if the angry thumbs disagree. You might not like it, but it's a fundamental principle that pretty much the entire legal system relies on. It'll also be a massive task to investigate thoroughly, especially given the amount of evidence and the passage of time, but I think it's a necessary one to resolve the way lawfare is being applied and abused.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    The finest whataboutery money can buy - bravo!

                    Listing other egregious events does not alter the fundamental unwarranted act of aggression that is Russia's invasion of the Ukraine.

                    Morally, we should stand for the Ukraine, and, as Europeans, if that is not enough, enlightened self-interest should take its place.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      The finest whataboutery money can buy - bravo!

                      I do not think centuries of jurisprudence equate to whataboutery. Especially as our legal systems often rely on precedents and prior ruliings.

                      Listing other egregious events does not alter the fundamental unwarranted act of aggression that is Russia's invasion of the Ukraine.

                      Assuming it is unwarranted, and not justifiable. Take hacking as an example. Unauthorised access to someone else's computers or data is a crime in many countries. Our news regularly reports ransomware, DDoS, data theft against corporations and indviduals, and those individuals can and are prosecuted. It's illegal, don't do it. Unless you have a warrant, in which case hacking might be legal. Or not, because sometimes those hackers are told by their courts that it's actually illegal and they've exceeded their authority.

                      Hacking has also become weaponised and politicised. 'Russia' hacked Clinton's mail servers and after Assange leaked some of the contents, cost her the election. Allegedly. This was 'evidence' of Russian election interference, and helped promote Russophobia. That escalated into wilder claims of 'Russian interference', even though little evidence was presented. Or contrarian evidence was presented, like the Dems funding the 'Steele Dossier', but that was ignored. Or there was this-

                      https://reason.com/2023/01/27/twitter-files-matt-taibbi-hamilton-68-russian-bots-fake/

                      But according to new revelations uncovered by independent journalist Matt Taibbi as part of the Twitter Files, the accounts on ASD's list weren't Russian bots. Moreover, Twitter content moderators knew the list was inaccurate but were reluctant to criticize it due to fears of bad press.

                      Not hacking per se, but weaponising the Internet for political aims. That happens a lot, even here where a few of my posts have been 'moderated' out of existence. The article talks about Ukrainian's hacking emergency alert networks. Those can control warning systems like alert sirens. If air raid sirens go off, that obviously causes fear and disruption. In this case, locals were told to ignore it. But EANs are considered critical infrastructure, and interfering with those is usually a fairly serious crime. Governments don't want hackers messing with them for pranks or publicity stunts because it might cause panic, or people might start ignoring real alerts if the EAN can't be trusted.

                      But there's currently an ongoing conflict. Governments are well aware that 'cyberspace' is part of the modern battlespace. Official units have been created to defend and attack. They can do this because they're authorised.. Even though the actually legality might be questionable, given the actions haven't been tested in open or closed courts. Governments have declared that cyberattacks are considered hostile actions. If they're done by civilians, those can be prosecuted. If they're done by state actors, it's less clear. Laws, or conventions relating to conflicts haven't really caught up with the modern day. But it should be fairly obvious that hacking and disabling or disrupting another nation's energy, water or other infrastructure is a pretty hostile act.

                      That isn't 'whataboutery', it's just how the law is meant to work. If it's illegal for me to do it, it's illegal for you to do it unless you're covered by some legal exemption. Currently, this is not the case. If the laws aren't applied equally and consistently, the justice system collapses. They did it, and claimed they did it legally, why shouldn't we? If we hack another country's election process and claim it's fair, why should be be suprised or outraged if other country's do it to us? Then the legal system collapses into playground politics of who started it.

                      This is dangerous. Our leaders speak much about the 'rule of law', yet potentially ignore it. Other country's notice this and start drifting away from our sphere of influence, or start doing what we do. We aren't exactly setting a good example for the world at the moment, and the world is noticing. Again, I am not a Russian bot, Putin puppet or any meme you've been coached to regurgitate. I simply try to point out that the reality is often far more complex than portrayed in the media.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        This read as something generated by ChatGPT: a load of apparently cogent sentences completely ignoring the central point to go wandering off on an odyssey about hacking (an ironic choice in light of all the articles published by this site on Russian state-sponsored hacking).

                        AKA whataboutery.

                        The point was about the unwarranted invasion of the Ukraine by an aggressor (Russia) and the consequent loss of life and destruction of infrastructure and the economy. To which you respond with a single, non-committal sentence, "Assuming it is unwarranted, and not justifiable.", and then fly off into the great blue yonder of something else.

                        I do note from your posts disagreeing with just about any consensus, that you appear to be either:

                        a) a conspiracy nut,

                        b) a professional astroturfer,

                        c) an unapologetic contrarian,

                        or

                        d) an intriguing combination of all three.

                        But I do admire the ambition - Putin and the invasion of Russia is a tough sell. I'd really like to see what you'd do with "Adolf Hitler - Monster or Misunderstood?"

                        A jolly nice weekend to you, and all!

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          This read as something generated by ChatGPT: a load of apparently cogent sentences completely ignoring the central point to go wandering off on an odyssey about hacking (an ironic choice in light of all the articles published by this site on Russian state-sponsored hacking).

                          I like the use of ad homs, but unlike others here, I won't bother hitting the report button.

                          The subject was hacking. Ukraine has hackers, and recently arrested a few for some crypto heists. Russia has hackers and has arrested some for much the same reasons. Then there are allegations of hacking that get widely reported, but often there's precious little evidence to show that it was 'state sponsored'. Sure, it's nice to prosecute crimes in the traditional way, with everyone in the same court. But politics makes that complicated, especially when charges or allegations are political.

                          But the legal system can deal with this. Here's wiki-

                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_in_absentia

                          Trial in absentia is a criminal proceeding in a court of law in which the person who is subject to it is not physically present at those proceedings. In absentia is Latin for "in (the) absence". Its meaning varies by jurisdiction and legal system.

                          Not every country allows it, but assuming it's a fair trial and there's overwhelming evidence, a person could be convicted. That may be a bit pointless given if the prosecuting country can't habeus the corpus, the person could still be free to go about their business. Providing they don't travel, or end up being the subject of extraordinary rendition, ie a pseudo-legal kidnapping. International law has evolved, possibly beyond breaking point when nations unilaterally ignore laws, treaties, sovereignty and just do their own thing because they can. If we have hard evidence of state-sponsored hacking, then our leaders should present it. Not just make vague allegations, because that's propaganda, not law. We're IT types (mostly), we can form our own opinion. Presenting clear and compelling evidence helps avoid conspiracy theories.

                          Consider the article. It's about hackers faking an emergency alert. Some of that might be justifiable, ie Russia and Ukraine are in conflict, so this might be fair game. It's disruptive, but so are air strikes. It could be propagandised. So imagine the two most important leaders of the free world are meeting in a city, with photo ops for the media. If hackers trigged that city's EAN, you might expect the leader's security teams to rapidly bundle both leaders to the nearest bunker. This might not look good on TV, not to mention disrupting any schedules while waiting for the all-clear.

                          It's not whataboutery when these things happen. It's more about determining the truth, and if something is 'fake news'. If fake news is over used, people stop trusting the news, and 'conspiracy theories' are allowed to flourish.

                          To which you respond with a single, non-committal sentence, "Assuming it is unwarranted, and not justifiable."

                          You may find this informative-

                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_VII_of_the_United_Nations_Charter#Article_51:_Self-defence

                          but I doubt it'll change your mind.

        3. Nifty Silver badge

          "Russia is planning full-blown "false flag" (Russian soldiers dressed Ukrainian ones)"

          So Ukraine should adopt a rainbow uniform...

    2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      They're describing anything Putin says as "alarm signals" now? To be fair, it's not too far off being accurate.

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    How does it go...

    If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

    We need a ROTFL icon!

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Headmaster

      "If you can't take it, don't dish it out."

      It's the nature of fascist authoritarians. Their every accusation is a confession.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "If you can't take it, don't dish it out."

        Ah, "those faults you see in others are really your own!"

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the country's Ministry of Emergency Situations"

    I would have thought that the Ministry of Interior would be tasked with handling emergency situations of this kind, or the Ministry of Defense at the very least.

    Does Russia also have a Ministry of Silly Walks ?

    1. Tubz Silver badge

      Re: "the country's Ministry of Emergency Situations"

      Yeh but only Putin turns up.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: "the country's Ministry of Emergency Situations"

        Ah his famous "I crapped my pants again" walk.

  4. Killfalcon Silver badge

    Hackers, or someone pressing the wrong button and blaming hackers?

    I eagerly await finding out if this belongs in ON-CALL or WHO-ME?

    1. Tim99 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      I’m not sure that inmates of the modern versions of Gulags have internet access…

  5. JimmyPage

    Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

    Occasionally government incompetence and lack of care for it's citizens can be an advantage.

    In fact if I heard something that suggested Sunak and co. gave a shiny shit about me, I would know it was a hoax.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

      Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

      We don't have any such system because we don't need one. The UK is not at war with anybody, and we stand very little (to zero) chance of being bombed.

      Even if Russia declared war against us then the only weapons they could reach us with would be the TU95 bombers that are more or less left over from the aftermath of WW2. These get intercepted by various air defence fighters and escorted whereever they go, and if Russia was at war with NATO then they'd be shot down closer to takeoff than weapons range of the UK.

      That means that the only thing Russia has which could reach us would be ICBM's with nukes, and the calculation is clearly that given the (extremely high) cost of building shelters capable of withstanding direct nuclear strikes and the roughly zero chance of anybody nuking us (because of Mutually Assured Destruction) it's not worth spending money on relative to vote buying schemes.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        Most likely their ICBM would detonate in the silo just before launch.

        They no longer have expertise to operate and maintain these.

        1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

          Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

          There's reports of a failed Russian ICBM test yesterday. It tallies with Putin's announcement today of a new missile, but totally embarrassing that the test of what was presumably that same system failed!

      2. abetancort

        Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        Every country has an emergency broadcast system set in place, not only for misil warning but natural emergencies too. I supposed if hackers can get to the system and trigger it, they can also modify the messages that will be announced. I believe that UK isn’t inmune at all to that type of tampering.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

          The German one for mobile phones only went live today. The technology has been there for years but the networks needed a couple of million Euro to find the switch…

        2. moonhaus

          Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

          "Every country has an emergency broadcast system set in place, not only for misil warning but natural emergencies too. "

          The UK has no such system. Some of our broadcasters didn't even realise the Queen had died until the BBC announced it.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

            Actually, it seems we in the UK do have a system:

            https://www.gov.uk/alerts

            "Emergency Alerts is a UK government service that will warn you if there’s a danger to life nearby.

            In an emergency, your mobile phone or tablet will receive an alert with advice about how to stay safe.

            The government does not need to know your phone number or location to send you an alert."

            (Of course it is probably based on one designed by W. Heath Robinson, https://www.heathrobinsonmuseum.org/william-heath-robinson/ , so heaven help us if we actually need it.)

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

            There is also the Wartime Broadcasting Service. In the true spirit of pointless secrecy so beloved of the UK, whether it actually works or not is a secret.

      3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        In case of missile attack, was it not deemed sufficient to duck & cover?

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

          Sort of.

          At ground zero to half a mile from a nuclear detonation then anybody will die either immediately from being incinerated or from getting a lethal dose of radiation and there is fuck all that can be done about it. At half a mile to many miles from ground zero what kills people is a blast wave which amounts to a solid wave of air hitting, with obviously decreasing force the further it goes.

          For people living in countries that build external walls in brick instead of plasterboard from anything over half a mile out the biggest threat is windows being turned into flying shards of glass from the overpressure, and possibly the roof collapsing inwards having taken a huge sideways push it wasn't designed to take. If you live in a country that builds houses out of plasterboard then lots more people die as the entire house collapses on them, obviously.

          Under these circumstances, diving for the floor or getting under a desk when there is a huge flash (arriving at the speed of light) before the blast wave arrives (at the speed of sound) is going to ensure that you present the smallest possible aspect to glass fragments so most of them go over you, rather than in you. Likewise, if the roof comes down then it might rain roofing tiles and being under a desk provides protection from that. So it's reasonably good advice to reduce casualties by a significant percentage (probably 90% of people affected by a nuclear strike would not be within half a mile of ground zero) and many lives could be saved by advice that basically costs nothing to hand out.

          Surviving post blast if all of the countries infrastructure has been nuked is of course another matter entirely...

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

            Peter2: "... a solid wave of air ..."

            One strange effect of the difference between the speed of light (the radiation blast) and sound (the wind) was that at Hiroshima after the first A-Bomb was used as a weapon, there was a ring around the epicentre where the fires started by the flash of light were blown out by the wind arriving a few seconds later.

            Then there was the fact that the heat was so intense it actually melted and boiled the roof tiles of some buildings.

            All in all this convinces me (and I suspect this may be contentious to some readers) that 'survivalists' would be better employed in making sure there is no nuclear apocalypse, rather than preparing to survive one. But that is just my opinion, and I'm not the most 'surviving' sort of person.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

            "...there is fuck all that can be done about it"

            If you had watched the Indiana Jones informational film on nuclear weapons, you would know that all you have to do to survive a nuclear blast is climb into a fridge.

      4. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        We don't have any such system because we don't need one.

        Just prior to my ILR days there was a nascent system run up leased lines. Normally used for contributions to IRN and bulletins from IRN I believe the system could have been used to "take over" downstream stations if necessary; IRN would broadcast a code up the line and sets of relays would click over. I don't think my station ever wired it in to do that, though there was a tape recorder set up for automatic record when IRN sent news reports. These were later edited for use in locally-presented bulletins.

        This had been superseded in my time by a satellite-based system which ISTR had a similar theoretical capability, definitely not wired-in (except, again, for the auto-recording tape). Instead we had the "obit alarm" - IRN would cause a relay to close at our end which would activate a strobe beacon in / near the studios and it was an entirely manual process for the on-air talent to PFL for instructions on the IRN audio feed and if necessary cut their programming in favour of IRN. The only time I saw it used in practice was with the death of Diana, princess of Wales. Our orange strobe light was accompanied in the lobby between studios by a little buzzer playing "Yellow Rose of Texas".

        RDS has a PTY (programme type) of "ALARM" which can, in theory, cause RDS-equipped radios to retune to a station with that flag active. It's part of the standard but I have no idea if it has ever properly been implemented. Certainly when I was in ILR, our RDS encoders were hard-coded with our station name, PTY and TP flags (Traffic Programme) and although they could have taken an external signal to raise the TA flag (Traffic Announcement) we never did that. Other stations - if they couldn't do it out of band - used DTMF codes in the traffic bulletin top & tail jingles. Not sure about DAB - after my time - but it wouldn't surprise me if it had a similar facility.

        M.

    2. kevin king

      Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

      But we do have that System it call RATS(radio alert transmission system) and it broadcast with Radio4 .... but now the GOV has it built into Mobile Phone signals https://www.gov.uk/alerts From Last Oct https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62549122

    3. Boring Bob

      Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

      The UK does have such a system. I remember being woken at 2:00am 29 years ago by someone who incorrectly set off the nuclear 2 minute warning sirens in Coventry.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        After the cold war those were left to local authorities to either maintain or decommission, most eventually chose to decommission.

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Probably one good reason for the UK not to have such a system.

        I recall one of them being tested in the 80's. Some of the local 6 year olds didn't know it was a drill...

        Quite what one would do with a 2 minute siren is anyone's guess, such is the nature of mutually assured destruction. As a species we have an awfully long way to evolve if the only way to co-exist is to engage in MAD.

        Babylon 5 and Star Trek both postulated nuclear catastrophe as being driving forces for change in society. Despite the end of the cold war, this is looking as likely today as it did in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  6. Jonathon Green
    Mushroom

    My money’s on a state sanctioned “false flag” operation to stir up discomfort, ramp up the paranoia, and facilitate the othering (and subsequent suppression) of more internal dissenters…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shhh, don't give the Poo-tin ideas!!!

      That said, I would not put it past them to indulge in this kind of behaviour to justify escalation.

      Quite where one escalates from where things already are does not leave many options :-|

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Quite where one escalates from where things already are does not leave many options :-|"

        The problem for NATO, the UN and most countries is the threat and rhetoric being used...it is simply like a game of chess with various attacking and defending moves, with both sides wanting to win and it coming down (eventually) to resources (and who runs out of pawns/other pieces first - aka soldiers/tanks/ammunition).

        And with both Russia and Ukraine now in this for the long term (or so it seems), it is going to take a massive climbdown on either side (to stop the senseless killing) OR (worse case) more significant killing weapons being deployed...and that implies thermobaric, chemical and/or nuclear alternatives.

        Sadly, more lives *are* going to be lost, before this ends...but something MUST be done ASAP to de-escalate this war...but so far, no one has stepped forward to bring this about (and it will need a proper world-leading statesman/woman to do this).

        1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

          Well, for Ukraine, this is a war for their own existence - even if an agreement were reached now that saw only a portion of their territory and their people annexed by Russia, the legitimate fear would be that that would only be a ceasefire, and that the Russians would come back and finish things once they have re-armed and re-organised. Hard to climbdown if you think that amounts to suicide.

          Putin has, of course, escalated things at various times, like formally annexing the four oblasts, which are now in his mind Russia, so can't be retreated from. For Putin, backing down could now be terminal, in a way that it would not have been 10 months ago, when it was already clear that the invasion had failed.

          That does rather suggest that the war will continue until military exhaustion causes one side or the other to collapse. However, there is clearly a hope amongst some that Putin will drop dead/ fall out of a window / develop 9mm calibre lead poisoning, and that a new Russian president will be able to end things, by putting all the blame on the departed ex-Putin.

          As for 'more significant killing weapons' well, the Russians are already using their thermobaric system (and Ukraine doesn't operate the system, other than any they have captured from the Russians).

          Chemical and (especially) nuclear would be a significant escalation, and likely result in loss of support for the Russians if they use them even from their few current allies - and it can only be the Russians, the Ukrainians have no nuclear weapons, and as far as I know, no chemical weapon systems either.

          Also, it's not clear that they would have that much effect on the course of battle - forces are already dispersed and under cover, so there is limited value in their use (few/no suitable targets), and neither side seem particularly well trained or equipped for fighting on an NPC battlefield. The Russians could end up killing more of their own than of the Ukrainians.

          I certainly agree that we could do with some proper, world-leading statesmen or women; sadly, there seems to be a global shortage at the moment.

          1. pdh

            Ukraine inherited a substantial number of nuclear weapons after the USSR broke up. They gave them up in exchange for security guarantees from Russia, the US, the UK, France, and China. You can see how that worked out...

          2. ElPedro100

            Upvote for probably the most intelligent and well reasoned analysis of the current situation that I have read so far.

            You're right. It's a shame that we don't have a real world leader who can open discussions using reasoning like this.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              The problem is there's no negotiation that works. You can't open with "How about Ukraine gives up this, then you go away" when the Ukrainians know it's not going to last, and you can't open with "How about Russia goes away" when Putin's in charge and either can't retreat for his own sake or doesn't want to because he's an insane megalomaniac. It's helpful to have some negotiators on standby if Putin should find himself lacking in breathing skills, but until something like that happens, there's not much negotiation that can be done.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The options are pretty limited to de-escalate. Beyond Russians opportunistically removing Poo-tin to take control themselves and blame the previous leadership for failures; the ball is totally in China's court. If China tells Pootin to get stuffed then Poo-tin will have no choice other than to back down or go scorched earth.

          On the western side, abandoning Ukraine would be an an unconscionable backdown that would leave other, closer allies questioning their security; inviting considerable further problems / alignment to the dictatorial sphere of influence.

          Thus we have the current attritional stalemate on the ground with not much sign of movement. Ukraine isn't potent enough to push forward much; nor can afford the significant casualties that are a feature of attacking against a well equipped conventional force.

          Clusterduck doesn't even begin to cover it.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "1 thumb up & 8 thumbs down"

          I am SHOCKED at the 8 down votes on this comment..... Have we been infiltrated by Russian spambots who will down vote any comments that show their leadership up?

          And simply stating facts and a simple personal opinion about the current issues and stating facts of what is happening in Ukraine and how the war could be stopped should not be sufficient to warrant such a negative response...unless of course there are other "agents" trawling these comment sections who clearly are either delusional about the situation or have some other bias.

          It's enough to make you cry for the innocent souls caught up in the aggression instigated by Putin by invadiing a sovereign country :-(

          PS: 142 countries at the UN have now voted on a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of all Russian combatants and weapons. So, at least the UN recognised the situation even if the 8 down voters do not - and those 8 down voters should hold their heads in shame !

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            I didn't vote either way on the comment. I think at least a few of the downvoters may have reacted to some of the rhetoric which is similar to, but not necessarily in agreement with, arguments from Russia apologists. For example, it is common for apologists to say something along the lines of "something MUST be done ASAP to de-escalate this war" when they mean that they want someone to make Ukraine give up and sue for peace, no matter that they'll have to give up large areas of their country and doom the residents of those areas to at best a life under dictatorship and probably much worse, before Russia comes back in two years and tries again. The reason the sentence often means that is that there's little that can be done to make Russia de-escalate, given that most countries that care about Ukraine have already placed severe sanctions on Russia and further penalties are more likely to escalate rather than de-escalate. I don't know if the original poster was saying this, and from the rest of their comments, I think it's unlikely. Still, I generally have some suspicions when statements of that nature are made, because there are some who start with a reasonable-sounding argument before pivoting to their real, less reasonable stance.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

    It is Russia after all comrade.

    1. analyzer

      Re: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

      Yes indeed it is russia, thus it is

      Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice.

      In russia, russia malices you!!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are hackers outside Russia/China/North Korea and Iran? Who knew?

  9. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Unprovoked?

    By democratically electing a Russian speaking jewish ex-comedian as president* with the intention of clamping down on corruption, the Ukrainians, by enjoying and welcoming democracy, accountability and showing it to be an effective way to run a country resulting in a more successful economy and happier populace, seriously provoked the corrupt gangsters running Russia. After all, if the Ukrainians can do it, why not the Russians? That was seen as a direct threat by Putin and his cronies. So, from Putin's point of view, he was provoked, after all, nobody wants to spend the rest of their life in a Russian prison, however much they may deserve it.

    *I understand that Volodymir Zelenskii actually has a degree in law, so in some ways is actually qualified to be a politician.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Unprovoked?

      We 'democratically' elected a gibberish speaking comedian - and convinced nobody to invade us.

      Although it did convince other countries to copy us and Sacha Baron Cohen is now running several countries

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Unprovoked?

        We don't have any natural resources particuarly worth stealing at this point!

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    quickly announced that the alerts were fake

    So they didn't try and send a tweet cancelling the alarm - discover they forgot the password, try and do the password reset but can't remember which intern set up the account and don't know what the email is ?

  11. Roland6 Silver badge

    > Many of the stations that aired the broadcasts are owned by Gazprom-Media, the largest media company in Russia.

    Many but not all, hence not, on first impression, an attack on Gasprom-media.

  12. martinusher Silver badge

    Qite likely

    The initial phase of the invasion (sorry "SMO") was screwed up by, among other things, the Belarus railway signalling system being hacked. Transportation relies heavily on rail in this region and messing up the signalling system meant that trains had to be managed using manual emergency methods (i.e. people standing around with flags and the like) that completely fouled up Russian logistics and led to that Mother of All Traffic Jams armored column.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Qite likely

      Are you sure the Belarus rail system can be 'hacked', or do you mean the string broke ?

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