CNN’s choice of image to illustrate a report on Russian hacking has backfired after viewers noticed it was in fact a screenshot from Fallout 4. Publishers Bethesda have even poked fun at the incident in a tweet.
The footage only appeared for a couple of seconds in the report and shows a bunch of seemingly random characters in block green capitals, the traditional media shorthand for computer hacking. (The footage also reportedly included the ubiquitous falling text scene from The Matrix.)
Despite the brief appearance, a Reddit user recognized the image as being from a minigame in Fallout 4. While much of the CNN footage was indecipherable, it’s a clear match with the line of four solid squares at the top of the screen turning out to be the game’s indicator for the player’s remaining attempts to spot a password.
Bethesda didn’t directly acknowledge the story, but instead posted another “hacking” screenshot from the game with the caption “Sneak Peek at Season 3 of @whoismrrobot”.
It’s not the first time somebody’s been caught out in this way. Last year the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom tweeted that “Extremists near Aleppo received several truckloads of chemical ammo” only to undermine the severity of the message by illustrating it with a screenshot from Command & Conquer: Generals.