Ukraine: Hack Wiped 2 Petabytes of Data from Russian Research Center


Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense says that pro-Ukrainian hacktivists have breached the Russian Center for Space Hydrometeorology (Planeta), and have wiped 2 petabytes of data from their systems. Planeta is a state funded research center that uses space satellite data, ground radars, and ground stations to provide accurate predictions about weather, climate, natural disasters, extreme phenomena, and volcanic monitoring. The agency also works closely with Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, and supports multiple sectors including military, civil aviation, agriculture, and maritime.

Ukraine says cyber volunteers who are known as the “BO Team” successfully carried out the attack. In total, that hackers claim to have destroyed 280 servers used by the researcher center.

Security Officer Comments:
If the claims are true, experts note that such a large volume of information would be difficult and costly to backup and restore, and could have catastrophic impacts for Planeta. Damage estimates shared by Ukraine’s intelligence services are in the tens of millions, and could impact the operation of Planeta supercomputer clusters and years of research.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, the supercomputer’s equipped at the research center are paralyzed and unable to be restored. Also of note are the multiple sanction-imposed constraints against Russia, which severely limit their capacity to restore sophisticated computer systems and software, this incident represents a formidable challenge for the research center to overcome. HVAC and power supply systems were also allegedly impacted in the attack.

BleepingComputer has contacted the Far Eastern branch of "Planeta" requesting a statement on the Ukrainian allegations, but have not received a response. Global conflicts across the globe have escalated hacktivist activity, as threat actors look to target adversarial nation’s critical infrastructure. Attacks like these are a warning of theoretical incidents the United State’s critical infrastructure may face.