Not just Meloni: from Merkel to Johnson, prank calls to prime ministers

Not only did our prime minister fall into the trap of the Russian comedian couple. Despite the great attention to interference from Moscow, the two struck very often

The secret services of every European state continuously produce reports on cyber security and hybrid attacks coming from Moscow, the European Commission has given itself precise rules and objectives to raise protection from cyber attacks and Russian infiltration into the highest possible level our security systems, the European Parliament has ad hoc commissions dedicated to preventing Russian infiltration into our democratic processes and European political debate. But it is clear that so much attention and so much technological effort cannot prevent a comedian from reaching a head of government, posing as a high official, and spreading the audio of the confidential phone call online.

Meloni was not the only victim of the Russian comedy duo

Boris Johnson, when he was British Foreign Secretary, thought he was speaking to the Armenian Prime Minister; Angela Merkel, now retired, was called by a fake former Ukrainian president Poroshenko; Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confessed on the phone to an unidentified African leader. The two comedians also made Elton Jhon talk to a fake Putin and made the US ambassador to the UN Nikky Haley believe she was talking to the Polish Prime Minister Morawiecky, in the call Halley said she knew perfectly well the situation of the state of the Binomo islands, which never existed invented by comedians.

The fear of the Russian secret services

In short, if the phone call with Meloni revealed an obvious flaw in the control systems of Palazzo Chigi, it seems clear that without developing sophisticated software for cyber piracy, many people manage to be fooled with much simpler and more humane systems. Many suspect that Russian services are behind the comedy duo, but this would only further confirm the need to keep the level of security high not only with refined technologies but also with equally refined procedures and human controls.

More effective than computer malware

Bots, the spread of fake news, the invasion of deep fakes on social media, sabotage of public IT systems and energy infrastructures are the main means used by Russia, according to European intelligence. Sometimes, however, a phone call, made by convincing an inattentive official, is enough to damage a country and a government more effectively than computer malware.