Pro-Russian hackers attempted to interfere with last weekend’s (May 14) Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, according to Italian officials.
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra beat UK entrant Sam Ryder to win the 2022 contest, picking up a massive 631 points – largely from the public vote – to overhaul the UK, who were winning after the jury votes.
According to Reuters, the Italian government’s cybersecurity department blocked attempts from the ‘Killnet’ and ‘Legion’ groups to hack the competition’s voting systems.
A further report in Forbes says ‘Killnet’ had threatened prior to the contest to “send 10 billion requests” to the competition’s online voting platform and “add votes to some other country” instead of Ukraine.
In a statement to MailOnline, a Eurovision spokesperson said that the “voting system has a wide range of security measures in place to protect the audience participation from outside influences.”
In Ukraine meanwhile, the win has brought “incredible happiness” to a country under invasion by Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Instagram that the courage of Ukraine “impresses the world” and congratulated Kalush Orchestra on their win.
He then went on to promise to host Eurovision in the future in a “free, peaceful and rebuilt” Mariupol, a city currently largely under Russian control.At the end of their performance at the show’s finale, Kalush Orchestra said: “I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, help Mariupol, help Azovstal right now.”
“To represent Ukraine in the international arena is always a responsibility, but to represent it during the war is just the highest responsibility possible,” he said.
“The song [‘Stefania’] was composed and dedicated to my mother, but after the war the song has acquired lots of nuances because a lot of people are perceiving it as if Ukraine is my mother,” said Psiuk. “That’s why the song has become so close to the Ukrainian people, and it is in the Ukrainian hearts.”
Following their Eurovision victory, the band members are required to return to Ukraine as men of legal fighting age.
Watch NME‘s full video interview with Kalush Orchestra’s Oleh Psiuk below.
Reviewing Saturday night’s contest, NME wrote: “Eurovision 2022 was all about looking forward: Sam Ryder reminding us that the UK can actually win this thing, and Ukraine showing the world just how much agency it has. Yes, the contest can be silly – hello, ‘Give That Wolf A Banana’ – but it’s also strangely and fundamentally profound.”