Ukrainian Hackers Wiped 2 Petabytes of Data from Russian Research Center

Written by Gabby Lee

January 31, 2024

Ukrainian Hackers Wiped 2 Petabytes of Data from Russian Research Center

Pro-Ukrainian Hackers wiped 2 petabytes of data from Russian Center for Space Hydrometeorology, a state research center that uses satellite data to monitor climatic activities and provides support to various sectors including the military, civil aviation, agriculture, and maritime.

Hackers Wiped 2 Petabytes of Highly Sensitive Data

The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has reported that pro-Ukrainian hacktivists successfully infiltrated the Russian Center for Space Hydrometeorology, also known as “planeta” (планета), and effectively erased a staggering 2 petabytes of data.

Planeta, a state research center, utilizes satellite data and various ground sources such as radars and stations to gather information and deliver precise forecasts regarding weather patterns, climate conditions, natural disasters, extreme phenomena, and volcanic activity monitoring.

The mentioned agency is associated with Roscosmos, the space agency of Russia that provides support to various sectors including the military, civil aviation, agriculture, and maritime.

In a separate incident involving state-affiliated hacking, Ukraine reports that a group of cyber volunteers called the “BO Team” managed to penetrate Planeta’s Far Eastern branch, which happens to be the largest among its three branches.

Although the Ukrainian government has not explicitly mentioned any involvement in the attack, they assert that the hackers responsible for breaching the Russian Center for Space Hydrometeorology destroyed a total of 280 servers.

The Hack Wiped 2 Petabytes of Data Causing a Financial Damage of $10,000,000

These servers contained a substantial amount of data, specifically 2 petabytes (equivalent to 2000 terabytes). Storing such a massive volume of information in backups would be both challenging and expensive. Hence, if Ukraine’s claims are accurate, this attack on Planeta can be considered catastrophic.

The Ukrainian intelligence service says the damage from the data loss is estimated to be $10,000,000, impacting the operation of supercomputer clusters and also years of research.

“Among the destroyed data are meteorological and satellite data, which were actively used in constant mode by the Ministry of Defense and MNS RF, “Roscosmos,” and several other state agencies-aggressors, as well as years of unique research,”

“The work of supercomputers equipped in the research center is paralyzed and cannot be fully restored.”

Reads the machine translated announcement.

The Ukrainians emphasize that given the sanction-imposed constraints, which severely limit Russia’s capacity to restore sophisticated computer systems and software, this incident represents a formidable challenge for the research center to overcome.

Attacks like these, which are promoted, if not sponsored, by the Ukrainian government, aren’t unprecedented, as it has admitted to performing operations in previous months aiming to sabotage crucial agencies in Russia.

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