NATO Investigating the Sale of Missile Data & Blueprints of Weapons used in Ukraine

The BBC reports that a hacking group sold classified military data, that includes blueprints of weapons being used by Nato allies in the Ukraine war. NATO is investigating and assessing the impact of the data breach.

MBDA Missile Systems is one of the largest weapons makers in the world. It has 13,000 employees and is a joint venture of Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo. Notably, last year it posted revenue of £3.5bn and counts the UK Ministry of Defence, US military, the European Union, and Nato as customers of its weapons systems.

Reports say that a hacking group is touting what it claims are top secret files stolen from European weapons manufacturer MBDA Missile Systems. Moreover, MBDA Missile Systems says its data was among the stash but claimed none of the classified files belong to the firm.

According to the pan-European company, based in France, “Its information was hacked from a compromised external hard drive, adding that it was cooperating with authorities in Italy, where the data breach took place”.

The BBC also states that the documents for sale are blueprints of weapons being used by NATO allies in the war in Ukraine files are labelled as “NATO Confidential,” “NATO Restricted” and “Unclassified Controlled Information”.

“We are assessing claims relating to data allegedly stolen from MBDA. We have no indication that any Nato network has been compromised”, says a Nato spokesperson.

Reports say, cyber criminals, operating on Russian and English forums, are selling 80GB of the stolen data for 15 Bitcoins (approximately £273,000) and claimed to have sold the stash to at least one unknown buyer so far.

One stolen folder contains detailed drawings of MBDA equipment 

As per their advertisement for the stolen data, the hackers claimed to have “classified information about employees of companies that took part in the development of closed military projects” as well as “design documentation, drawings, presentations, video and photo materials, contract agreements and correspondence with other companies”.

“A free 50MB sample of the data, includes documents labeled “NATO CONFIDENTIAL”, “NATO RESTRICTED” and “Unclassified Controlled Information”, BBC Report

Classification Levels of NATO

  • COSMIC TOP SECRET: unauthorized disclosure would cause exceptionally grave damage to Nato
  • NATO SECRET: unauthorized disclosure would cause serious damage to Nato
  • NATO CONFIDENTIAL: unauthorized disclosure would be damaging to Nato interests
  • NATO RESTRICTED: unauthorized disclosure would be disadvantageous to the interests of Nato
  • Unclassified Controlled Information is a US security label for information that is government-created or owned; information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and government-wide policies.

Hackers also gave BBC reporters access to additional documents labeled “NATO Secret.” The MDBA files being sold purportedly specify details of a “communications intelligence” operation a U.S. air regiment carried out over the Baltics in 2020 – including the full name, phone number, and coordinates of someone said to have been at the center of the mission.

A former Nato official says, “There’s a lot of over-classification in Nato but these labels matter. They are applied by the originator of the information, and NATO SECRET is not applied lightly”.

“This really is the kind of information Nato doesn’t want out there in the public.”

Reports say a few of the documents known to have been stolen from MBDA are labeled as “proprietary information not to be disclosed or reproduced”.

“The company’s internal verification processes indicate that the data made available online are neither classified data nor sensitive.” MBDA Missile Systems.

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Gurubaran is a Security Consultant, Security Editor & Co-Founder of Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.