NATO is evaluating the impact of a data breach that resulted in classified military documents being sold online by hackers. These blueprints include weapons plans used by NATO allies in Ukraine. Criminal hackers stole data from a European weapons manufacturer and made it possible for them to sell the dossiers.
MBDA, a European multinational missile developer and manufacturer, admitted that it had data in the stash but claimed that none of the classified files were theirs. A Pan-European company based in France claimed that its data was stolen via an external hard drive. It stated that it had cooperated with Italian authorities during the investigation. Studies are believed to be focused on one of MBDA’s suppliers.
NATO spokesperson stated they are examining claims about data allegedly stolen from MBDA. There is no evidence to suggest that any Nato network has been compromised. Russian and English-speaking cybercriminals sold 80GB of stolen information for 15 Bitcoins (approx. £273,000). They claimed that they had sold the cache to one buyer at most.
They claimed to have “classified information concerning employees of companies that took part in closed-military projects development” and “design documents and drawings, videos and presentations, photo materials and contract agreements, as well as correspondence with other businesses.”
The BBC provides a 50MB sample of the data for free. The documents include documents marked “NATO CONFIDENTIAL,” “NATO RESTRICTED,” and “Unclassified Controlled Information.” The criminals also sent additional documents via email, two of which were marked “NATO SECRET.”
NATO Classification Levels:
COSMIC TOPPRIVACY: Any unauthorized disclosure could cause NATO severe harm
NATO SECRET: NATO’s unauthorized disclosure would cause severe damage
NATO CONFIDENTIAL: Unauthorized disclosure would be harmful to NATO’s interests
NATO RESTRICTED: Unauthorized disclosure would be detrimental to the interests of NATO
Unclassified Controlled Information (US security tag) refers to information created by or owned by the government. All information must be protected and disseminated following applicable laws, regulations, or government policies. Hackers could not verify that the information was from more than one source. Although the BBC could not verify the files, they describe a “communications Intelligence mission” that the American Air Force conducted in Estonia at 2020’s end.
Ex-Nato officials said that although there are many NATO classifications, these labels are crucial. The source of information uses them, and NATO’s Secret is rigorously applied. It includes call logs, full names, and GPS coordinates of the person alleged to have been at the heart of the operation.
“This is the information NATO doesn’t want to know.” Since most files were created between 2017 and 2020, there was very little chance of documents being classified.
Russia’s vigilante hackers are part of the attack on Ukraine. The US warns that the Russian cyber threat should not be underestimated. The sample files also contained a presentation. The presentation provided an overview of the internal workings and capabilities of the Land Ceptor CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile). The presentation also showed the precise location of electronic storage units inside the missile. As part of Sky Sabre’s system, one of these devices was recently sent to Poland for use in the Ukraine conflict. It is now operational.
MBDA acknowledged that its data was compromised but said it has internal verification processes to ensure that online data is not classified or sensitive. Some documents taken from MBDA were labeled “proprietary data, not for disclosure and reproduction.” MBDA was created in December 2001 by combining three companies that made missile systems in France and Italy. It is a joint venture of Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo and employs 13,000 people. It had a revenue of £3.5bn last year and counted the US military and the UK Ministry of Defense as customers of its weapon system.
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