Hackers add explosive angle to weather broadcast
Wednesday Jun 20, 2007
By Shaun Davies
Pranksters have hijacked a Czech breakfast television program, inserting footage of a nuclear explosion into an otherwise innocuous weather broadcast.
A collective of artists called Ztohoven has claimed credit for hacking a live camera feed that was broadcasting images from scenic East Bohemia.
Instead of bucolic images, Sunday viewers of Czech Television's Panorama program were treated to footage of a mushroom cloud ballooning over the countryside.
The website address www.ztohoven.com was superimposed over the footage.
The footage has been viewed more than 240,000 times since it was posted on internet video site YouTube on Sunday.
Police are now investigating the prank, which has left Czech Television executives fuming.
Ztohoven posted an explanation of its actions on its web page, saying it was "neither a terrorist organisation nor a political group".
"On the 17th of June 2007 this group attacked the space of TV broadcasting. It distorted it, questioned its truthfulness and its credibility.
"It drew attention to the possibility of using images of the world created by the media in place of the existing, real world."
A report in the Prague Daily Monitor said Czech Television had filed a criminal complaint, alleging Ztohoven has damaged its intellectual property and spread public fear.
A spokesman for the television station said the group had used the internet and other technologies to hack into the camera, which was operated by an external firm.
The perpetrators of the stunt reportedly face up to one year in prison.
Ztohoven is known in the Czech Republic for its stunts. The group previously altered an art installation at Prague Castle, turning a love-heart sculpture into a question mark.
It also covered 800 advertising posters in Prague's underground with white posters featuring a large black question mark.