Hacker Arrested in Billboard Porn Stunt

Hacker Arrested in Billboard Porn Stunt
Hacker Arrested in Billboard Porn Stunt 

By Alexandra Odynova
The Moscow Times
17 February 2010

Police in the southern city of Novorossiisk have arrested a man accused 
of hacking into a video billboard in Moscow last month and showing a 
pornographic movie that spawned a traffic jam as curious drivers slowed 
to watch the film.

The suspected hacker, a 41-year-old unemployed man, was arrested in 
Novorossiisk and released Tuesday after promising to remain in the city, 
the Interior Ministry's high-tech crime department said in a statement.

Police released neither the man's name nor the date he was arrested but 
said he had been hacking into computers out of "curiosity" and to 
"sharpen his skills."

On the night of Jan. 14, the video appeared on a 9-by-6 meter roadside 
video billboard on the Garden Ring Road, near the Serpukhovskaya metro 

It played for about 20 minutes as traffic ground to a halt, with many 
drivers filming the spectacle on their cell phones and later reposting 
the footage on the Internet.

Police said the hacker used the IP-address of an organization based in 
Chechnya to break into the Moscow server and post the video on the 
billboard. He has admitted that he was behind the stunt but said he 
merely wanted to entertain people, not create a furor, police said.

The suspect claimed that he intended to show the video not on the 
billboard, but at a Moscow store, the Interior Ministry statement said. 
He said he was confident that police would never make it to Chechnya to 
investigate the case, police said.

He faces charges of illegal distribution of pornography and gaining 
illegal computer access. If convicted, he faces up to two years in 

The incident prompted the Moscow Advertising Committee to ban video 
billboards on the streets of Moscow.

Earlier this month, the committee tightened rules for video billboards 
to make them less susceptible to hacker attacks. Billboard operators 
should be able to switch the signs off immediately in case of emergency.

The Krasnodar regional branch of the Federal Drug Control Service said 
Tuesday that the suspect had previously faced charges of dealing 
marijuana in Novorossiisk while working as a taxi driver, Interfax 

He had previously worked as a systems administrator but was laid off, 
Interfax said.

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