Hackers Create Nuclear Bomb Scare

Realistic mushroom-cloud explosion causes stir in Czech Republic

On Sunday morning, viewers in the Czech Republic were enjoying "Panorama," a television show that features live views of ski resorts, mountains, and other scenery around the country. As they watched one view of the Bohemian mountains, a large mushroom cloud appeared -- the unmistakable signature of a nuclear explosion.

The scare shook many viewers, but the "live view" turned out to be a hoax. The Ztohoven "artistic group" had successfully broken into the Webcam used by Czech Television's CT2 channel and inserted a 30-second video showing a realistic-looking atomic explosion. The video even contains a link to the group's Web page.

Ztohoven subsequently released a statement in which they claim they are not terrorists or a political group -- they "just wanted to see what the reaction would be," according to one report.

Officials at CT2 didn't give details on how the group hacked the Webcam, which is operated by a contractor in the Krkonose Mountains. The perpetrators used "the Internet and other technologies," according to a spokesman, and law enforcement already has identified the Internet address that launched the hoax.

The television station already has filed a criminal complaint over the attack, charging the perpetrators with "damaging intellectual rights and scare mongering." If they are found, the attackers could face up to a year in jail.

Panorama, which is viewed mostly by skiers who want to check out the day's slopes, is watched by fewer than 50,000 people during the summer months, the spokesman said.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading