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,
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