ART&DESIGN

QR-codes were removed from historical buildings in Astrakhan, which led to porn sites. One year after complaints

Officials called the incident “a hacker attack”, but the authorities probably did not pay for the domain in time – and bought it up.


Screenshot of the page where the QR code led on the building of the Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve Photo and collage “Watermelon Today”

All QR codes were removed from city sights in Astrakhan, which, when scanned, were transferred not to tourist guides, but to porn sites. This was reported by the Acting Minister of Culture and Tourism of the region, Galina Zoteeva, Interfaxand TASS reports .

There was an attack by hackers who changed the way to an unnecessary site. New QR codes are being developed, which will be installed on buildings.Galina Zoteevaand about. Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Astrakhan Region

In 2013, Astrakhan authorities launched the Green Arrow excursion project and included 35 cultural heritage sites on the route. A QR code was placed on each building, a certificate of a historic building appeared when it was read.

In November 2018, journalists from the local publication Arbuz, who studied the tourist route, reported that links did not work “for about six months”. According to the publication, QR codes gave an error, and then began to lead on porn sites or to offer acquaintances with sexual connotations allegedly in Tinder. When clicked, the device owner automatically signed up for a subscription of 35 rubles per day

According to an anonymous source of “Watermelon”, the regional ministry of culture knew about the situation thanks to complaints from tourists, but did not correct the situation. The IT firm called the publication two versions of what happened – either the authorities did not extend the domain’s validity in time, after which the copyright holder posted an advertisement or sold the domain to someone else, or the site was really hacked.

A day after the reportage, the Ministry of Culture told reporters that it had blocked links to which QR codes from the plates led. After this statement, “Watermelon” again walked the route and found that the problem was preserved at some places of interest.

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