Someone Hacked Swedish Radio Station to Play Pro-ISIS Song

A private radio station in Sweden Mix Megapol suffered a cyber attack in which someone hacked its transmission to play a pro-ISIS song for 30 minutes on Friday morning. Controlled by ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, the radio station runs in 24 cities in the country with a massive fan following. 

According to local website 24Malmo, the incident took place during the station’s breakfast show when their frequency was hacked to play the song “For The Sake Of Allah” that is based on the theme urging people to join the terrorist organization.

The Company’s spokesman Jakob Gravestam told the media that the incident has been reported to the police and Swedish government authorities who are investigating the issue. Meanwhile, Jonas Wessel, the Director of the Spectrum Department at the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) and Vice Chair of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) said that tracing the culprit will be a difficult task.

“It seems like someone has used a transmitter and dialed the same broadcast frequency and then played out different content, Wessel said. “Afterwards it is very difficult. If it is a disturbance that only occurs during a period and never occurs again, it is difficult to find.”

Here is a moment when the station was hacked to play the pro-ISIS song:

It is unclear if the station’s website was affected or not, however, at the time of publishing this article, the station’s service was restored.

Sweden and cyber attacks

Lately, there has been an increase in cyberattacks against Sweden. In July 2017, a massive trove of highly critical data of Swedish citizens was accidentally leaked online while last month, Sweden’ Transport Agencies suffered a series of massive DDoS attacks delaying train services in the country.

ISIS taking over live media

This is not the first time when a live media platform has suffered attacks to display content supporting ISIS. In 2015, France’ TV5Monde and BBC had their live telecast hijacked by unknown hackers to display “Je suIS IS” message on TV screens. However, upon investigating, France said that it believes Russian hackers took over TV5Monde posing as ISIS hackers.

Radio stations and cyber attacks

Hacking a radio or TV station transmission is often described as “Broadcast signal intrusion.” To hijack transmission of a radio station, all an attacker needs is an FM transmitter that can overpower the same frequency as the station being rebroadcast. In North America, to intrude on legal broadcasts include breaking into the transmitter area and splicing audio directly into the feed.

Earlier in July this year, KQED TV and Radio Station in San Francisco suffered a ransomware attack in which attackers almost destroyed the platform by wiping out pre-recorded segments. In January 2017, Louisville, Kentucky’s “Crescent Hill Radio WCHQ 100.9 FM and Sunny 107.9 FM WFBS from Seneca, South Carolina had their transmission hijacked to play F**K Donald Trump song. The details for both hacks are available here and here

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