Compromise of TV5 Monde
Date of report
  • April 2015
  • Suspected to be the work of APT 28
In May 2015, threat actors compromised French television network TV5 Monde, disrupting broadcasts for three hours and gaining access to the network’s social media accounts. A group allegedly allied with the self-declared Islamic State and calling itself the Cyber Caliphate initially claimed responsibility for the incident. However, later investigations revealed links to Russian hacking group APT 28. TV5 Monde is an example of a “false flag” operation, whereby a threat actor tries to mask its identity by leaving clues or attributes that would cause the victim to pin the blame on someone else. The threat actors behind TV5 Monde were successful enough in their flagging to lead French authorities to believe the incident was a terrorist attack. It is unknown why Russia would have conducted a false flag operation in France disguising itself as the Islamic State.  In October 2018, the UK government announced that this incident was the work of Russian military intelligence.
Suspected victims
  • TV5 Monde
Suspected state sponsor
  • Russian Federation
Type of incident
  • Defacement
Target category
  • Private sector
Victim government reaction
  • Yes
Policy response