In recent days, the Twitter account of the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition, led by Minister Roberto Cingolani, has been the target of a hacker attack, and news has spread that the author of the attack could be the founder of the Ethereum blockchain, Vitalik Buterin.
Vitalik Buterin targeted by Fake News
Among the first to spread the somewhat sensational news to lend credence to the authorship of the attack was Angelo Bonelli of the Italian political party “Alleanza Verdi e Sinistra”, who again on Twitter wrote:
“Does Minister Cingolani know that Mite’s Twitter profile has been taken over by Russian programmer Vitalik? What should be done? Do we let the Russians handle the Ecological Transition policy?”
Ma il ministro #Cingolani lo sa che il profilo Twitter del @MiTE_IT e’ stato conquistato dal programmatore russo #Vitalik . Che si fa ? Facciamo fare la la politica della transizione Ecologica ai russi ? pic.twitter.com/BukdsCh4zY
— Angelo Bonelli (@AngeloBonelli1) September 15, 2022
The fact that a photo of Buterin, who is a naturalized Russian Canadian, appeared on the account’s profile evidently lent credence to the news, which appears to be a boutade or precisely a campaign stunt, considering that it seems really hard to believe that the Russian-Canadian programmer could have made such a senseless gesture, moreover just hours before the launch of the new Merge update, which will make its network more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The fact that the Ministry’s account promises Ethereum gifts suggests that there are malicious links to steal data from users. It is very likely that hackers used Buterin’s name to be more attractive in a sneaky way, precisely at one of the decisive moments in the history of the company founded by the Russian.
Moreover, it is not clear why the perpetrator of a hack would so blatantly self-disclose. Thus, it is obviously fake news.
The first post published by the new holders of the Mite account is a response to Vitalik Buterin’s official account. “To celebrate the Merge, the Ethereum Foundation is raffling off 50,000 ETH! First come, first served” The most classic case of phishing, and that is the attempt to induce a user to provide information and access data to malicious hackers.
The hackers’ request?
So far there are no reports of ransom demands, as had happened in others in the past, when hackers demanded a reward, very often in cryptocurrency, in exchange for restoring the normal functions of a site.
“Today’s hacker attack on the Ministry of Ecological Transition has great symbolic value. It is not just a mere attack on a Twitter account but something more complex.”
Michele Fioroni, Coordinator of the State-Regions Conference Commission on Digital, told Italian newspaper Repubblica. For Fioroni, the proof is in the involvement in recent weeks of multiple public and private companies in the energy sector that have been directly hit by hacker attacks.
Indeed, hacker attacks on Italian institutional sites are increasingly frequent, starting with the sensational one of 30 July 2021 on the Lazio Region website. The hacker attack virtually halted the region’s health services for a month, at a time when the vaccination campaign was active.
Our country has a certain backwardness in cyber defense systems against cyber attacks, which is why there has long been a call for more effort to secure the country’s infrastructure from such attacks, which are becoming more frequent and effective.