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Ukraine claims responsibility for attack on Russian aviation agency, leaks ‘stolen’ data

A cyber attack on Russia’s civil aviation agency has been claimed by Ukrainian intelligence, which says it has stolen a large amount of data.

user icon Daniel Croft
Tue, 28 Nov 2023
Ukraine claims responsibility for attack on Russian aviation agency, leaks ‘stolen’ data
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Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence said it had attacked the Russian agency responsible for aviation safety and recording emergencies, the Rosaviatsia (the Federal Air Transport Agency).

“The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine informs that as a result of a successful complex special operation in cyber space, a large volume of confidential documents of the structural subdivision of the Russian Ministry of Transport – the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) – is now acquired,” said the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

“The data obtained as a result of hacking and penetration of enemy information systems includes a list of daily reports of Rosaviatsia for the entire Russian Federation for more than a year and a half.”


The Ukrainian agency posted screenshots of documents, as well as a link to the confidential documents, which was inaccessible by Cyber Daily at the time of writing.

“[The document’s] analysis shows that the civil aviation sector of terrorist Russia is on the verge of collapse,” the Ukrainian agency said.

According to Ukrainian Intelligence, the stolen data detail a number of signs that Russia is struggling to keep aircraft running thanks to sanctions restricting much-needed parts and preventing servicing.

For example, sanctions imposed on Russia have restricted the supply of engines for the Soviet An-2, as they are produced in Poland. The result is that most of these planes are “currently unable to take off from the ground”.

There is also a lack of capacity and specialists able to work on certain aircraft, which has led to Russia outsourcing maintenance and servicing to Iran, where the work needed is done without “appropriate certification”.

The lack of parts and maintenance has led to what is called “aviation cannibalism”, which is the pulling apart of aircraft to harvest parts and repair others.

“According to the available data, by mid-2023, more than 35 per cent of aircraft in Russia were ‘donated’,” said Ukraine.

The key faults faced by Russian aircraft relate to hydraulic systems, flaps and software.

It is rare that a state will take responsibility for an offensive cyber attack on another nation, particularly in the case of a government agency posting links to stolen data, exactly as a cyber criminal would.

The claims that Ukraine has made regarding Russia’s aviation industry are yet to be verified, and the inaccessible confidential documents only make things less clear.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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