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Mykolaiv Center for Investigative Reporting Website Hacked

March 19 – After MCIR site was hacked on March 19, Internews provided digital security expertise to restore the site and Ukrainian investigative reporting teams around the country showed solidarity by reposting the reports that hackers tried to remove.

On March 19, hackers broke into the Mykolaiv Center for Investigative Reporting website and altered content related to Odesa officials’ corruption and ties to organized crime. Prior to the attack, MCIR received an anonymous offer of cash to remove these stories from the website but had refused.

MCIR received support from digital security specialists working for Internews’ Audience Understanding and Digital Support project, supported by SIDA, and was able to restore the stories and protect the site. MCIR also received legal advice from lawyers at the Regional Press Development Institute, supported by USAID’s Media Program in Ukraine, to help file a cybercrime complaint to the police.

USAID MPU media partners in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lutsk, Lviv, Rivne, Zaporizhzhya and other cities decided to show professional solidarity by publicizing the incident as well as re-posting the original stories that prompted the hack on their own sites.

Context: The two stories that inspired this attack were originally published in 2016 and 2019. The first covered corruption schemes of organized crime in the Odesa port customs terminal, produced by TV show, funded by the Canadian Government in a project managed by Internews. The second was a story produced by MCIR in collaboration with the Czech Center for Investigative Reporting, revealing Odesa gangs and their connections to property in Prague. Both stories mentioned the criminal past of Odesa Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov and Aleksander Angert who was identified by the Italian police as a criminal arms-dealer.


Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash