Ukrainian Hackers Breach Russia’s Major Space Hydrometeorology Center “Planet”

by Roman Cheplyk
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Ukrainian Hackers Breach Russia’s Major Space Hydrometeorology Center “Planet”

Ukrainian hackers successfully infiltrated “Planet,” Russia’s key space hydrometeorology research center, causing extensive damage

The attack led to the loss of an extensive array of information, including long-term research, weather, and satellite data crucial to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Roscosmos, and other agencies.

  • Unprecedented Data Loss: The BO Team hackers executed the cyberattack, erasing approximately 2 petabytes (or about 2 million gigabytes) of data. This included vital information used by various Russian government and military sectors.
  • Impact on Russian War Financing: The "Planet" center, since the beginning of the invasion, provided significant support to the Russian military and their families. The hack is expected to impact the funding for the war against Ukraine.
  • Technical Details of the Attack: Gaining access to two servers, hackers targeted all devices and services. Notably, Kaspersky antivirus systems in place failed to prevent the breach.
  • Disruption of Critical Systems: The attack disrupted supercomputers and about 60 computing nodes. The financial cost of recovery is compounded by sanctions preventing software imports from the U.S., making full restoration unlikely.
  • Arctic Research Station Affected: The cyberattack disconnected an Arctic station on Bolshevik Island, halting important climatic and environmental research.
  • Comprehensive Damage: Over 280 servers were reportedly destroyed, affecting data stores, mail servers, network devices, and critical infrastructure systems.
  • Financial and Strategic Losses: The total loss, considering the uniqueness and accumulation of data over years, is estimated at over $10 million, excluding physical damage to the center's systems.
  • Long-term Implications: This strategic cyber operation is expected to leave Russian defense and support campaigns without crucial information and services for an extended period, potentially affecting combat capabilities on the ground.

The success of this cyberattack by Ukrainian hackers represents a significant blow to Russian strategic operations, potentially aiding Ukraine's efforts on the battlefield.

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