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ISIS: You bomb us, we’ll interrupt your TV transmissions

French broadcast signal affected, social media disturbed

TV5Monde was prevented from broadcasting last night, and claims to still be working on a return to its regular programming schedule, after "hackers" interrupted its transmissions for a couple of hours.

The signal jammers claimed affiliation with ISIS and took to the French broadcaster's social media accounts to spam the world with jihadi copypasta.

They were however unable to hijack the channel's signal and merely prevented its transmission.

Explaining their actions, the juvenile jihadis took to the network's Facebook page to j'accuse President François Hollande of committing "an unforgivable mistake" by getting involved in "a war that serves no purpose", referring to the country's involvement in the coalition currently carrying out air strikes against ISIS.

"That’s why the French received the gifts of Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in January," they added.

Interrupted signals are one of the more retro features of hacking culture, the most famous incident occurring in 1987 when two Chicago television stations had their broadcast signals hijacked by an unknown person wearing a Max Headroom mask.

The earliest known broadcast signal intrusion dates back to 1977, when an audio message purporting to come from outer space was broadcast on ITN.

Hijacking incidents have typically been considered culture jamming activities employed by activists to disrupt or subvert institutional media, although they have also been used for propaganda purposes in wars.

The damage caused to TV5Monde is unclear. Yves Bigot, the network director, told RTL radio Thursday morning that his staff were still only able to broadcast recorded programmes. "We are not yet in a position to re-establish our broadcasting schedule, nor to produce programmes."

Although no lives were lost or injuries received, the Guardian is reporting that the French culture minister has called an "urgent meeting of media groups" following the intrusion.

Footage also shows an armed policeman standing on guard outside of TV5Monde's office, although the attack was entirely network based.

Bigot has declared, with no sense of understatement, that TVM5Monde is "trying to analyse what happened: how this very powerful cyber-attack could happen when we have extremely powerful and certified firewalls".

A statement which seems to contradict that on TV5Monde's website which claims the penetration probably occurred via a stolen password or the installation of malware.

"The CyberCaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State," the cyberclowns' cybermessage cyberadded.

The intrusion occurs only a week after TV5Monde's broadcast platform was upgraded by Ericsson. The Register asked Ericsson whether its upgrades may have introduced vulnerabilities to the broadcast platform, but the telecoms giant categorically denied it had anything to do with it. We're awaiting a full response. ®

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