Ukraine’s intelligence service hacked Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia

Pierluigi Paganini November 27, 2023

Ukraine’s intelligence service announced the hack of the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, ‘Rosaviatsia.’

Ukraine’s intelligence service announced they have hacked Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, ‘Rosaviatsia.’ The attack is the result of a complex special cyber operation.

“The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine informs that as a result of a successful complex special operation in cyberspace, 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.” reads the announcement.

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

Rosaviatsia is the government agency responsible for the oversight and regulation of civil aviation in Russia. The agency’s primary role is to ensure the safety, security, and efficiency of air transport within the country.

The state-sponsored hackers claimed to have stolen sensitive documents that contained proof of a crisis in Russia’s aviation industry.

Ukraine hacked Rosaviatsia

The international sanctions and the embargo for spare parts are heavily impacting the aviation sector in the country.

“Their analysis shows that the civil aviation sector of terrorist Russia is on the verge of collapse.” continues the announcement.

The content of the alleged stolen data demonstrates that:

  1. In January 2023, 185 accidents were recorded in Russian civil aviation. About a third of them were classified as incidents of varying levels of danger. The leader here was the Russian short-haul aircraft “dry superjet” – 34 emergency cases.
  2. In the first 9 months of 2023, 150 cases of aircraft malfunctions were recorded in Russia. In the same period in 2022, 50 such incidents were recorded. This means that the safety hazard of flying in Russia has tripled.
  3. Engines and landing gear, as well as other important elements such as hydraulic systems, flaps and software, remain the most critical issues in Russian aviation.
  4. The aggressor state of Russia faces serious challenges in maintaining heavily logged aircraft. Due to the lack of capacity and specialists, Moscow is trying to redirect aircraft maintenance to Iran, where the relevant work is carried out ” handicraft” – without appropriate certification.
  5. As of March 2022, Russia had about 820 foreign-made civilian aircraft. And while at that time only up to 10% of them had undergone uncertified maintenance with the use of non-authentic spare parts, today almost 70% of the fleet has been put through such “service”.
  6. The acute shortage of spare parts has led to the so-called “aviation cannibalism” in Russia, when some aircraft are dismantled to repair others.  According to the available data, by mid-2023, more than 35% of aircraft in Russia were “donated”.
  7. Most Soviet An-2 aircraft are currently unable to take off from the ground because their engines were manufactured in Poland, but their supply has been stopped due to sanctions.
  8. In January 2023 alone, 19 different failures were recorded among the 220 Airbus aircraft in Russia. In particular, 17 cases of smoke were recorded in 9 aircraft used by Aeroflot.
  9. 33 technical failures of various aircraft systems have been recorded out of 230 Boeing aircraft operated in Russia.
  10. Every seventh Brazilian Embraer failed to withstand the conditions of operation in Russia, and there are 21 of them in Russia’s fleet.

An examination of stolen documents exposes systemic flaws in Russia’s civil aviation sector, particularly in the areas of engine, landing gear, and wing mechanics. These shortcomings point towards a period of turbulence for the nation’s air travel industry. The root cause of these problems can be directly attributed to sanctions.

“Today, Moscow is trying to hide the endless pile of problems with civil aviation, endangering its residents, by all means.” concludes the report.

The announcement marks the first time that a government admitted to having used hacking as part of its military strategy during a conflict.

Follow me on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook and Mastodon

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Rosaviatsia)

you might also like

leave a comment