Cloud Computing To Drones: The Desire Of Russia

An Associated Press investigation (AP) has been conducted and found that a group of cyberspies from Russia tracking the secrets of U.S military drones and some other technologies deluded the key workers to release their e-mails to the theft.

It is still not clear about what has been stolen, but this incident really showed up the weaknesses of U.S cybersecurity: the mails are not well-protected and there is little notification to the victims.


The AP also found out that these hackers, known as the Fancy Bear, had interfered the U.S election, attacked 87 people who were responsible for  military missiles, fighter jets, drones and cloud computing platforms. Many workers in both small and big organizations such as  Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., and Airbus Group are the targeted victims of hackers. A few members of the Fancy Bear even worked for trading groups in US’s allied countries.

The security targets were recognized by the AP through over 19,000 phishing emails created by hackers and they were collected by U.S cybersecurity company Secureworks. The data in those emails was divided and lasted from March 2015 to May 2016 only. About 40 percent of the employees clicked on the phishing links in the emails, and that initially allowed the cyberspies to open their personal account and computer.

Previously, the Fancy Bear was reported to intrude into the Gmail of Hillary Clinton Election campaign, U.s national security officials, Kremlin opposites and journalists all over the world.  The U.S CIA have summed up that the cyberspies worked for Kremlin and purloined the mail accounts to support Donald Trump in the 2016 Election, but President Vladimir Putin denied it all.

However, the hackers had more intentions than that. Of 87 people identified by the AP, fifteen worked on military drones. Giants like Russia are on the race to develop drones technology into remoted-controlled aircrafts that can monitor specific targets for a long time or even fire missiles to attack, which means safety for the pilots.

Currently, more and more drone pilots are required by the U.S Air Force than other kinds of aircrafts. Experts believe that the invention of drones will significantly stimulate the growth of aerospace industry to a new level. The production is predicted to rocket from $4.2 billion to $10.3 billion.

In fact, Russia seems to have been left behind since the invention of U.S Reaper drone. This mega –drone can fly over 1000 miles (about 1,600 kms) carrying Hellfire missiles and bombs. It has already been used in fights in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cyberspies went after the E-mail of Michael Buet, who is an engineer working for SunCondor. They worked on designing and producing ultra-durable batteries and high altitude drones. Considering Russia’s vast border frontier and military engagements aroud the world, aircrafts like these would be  a great surveillance implement.

Moreover, the Fancy Bear also aimed at the Arlington, Virginia-based Aerospace Industries Association, by hacking into the Gmail accounts for the president Eric Fanning and several members. One of the targets was Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, who had experience in aerospace industry and had involved in multiple weapon and space projects such as SpaceX founded by tech millionaire Elon Musk.

Hackers also followed the footsteps of specialists who worked in cloud computing services and computer networks to allow easy access and spread phishing data. In 2013, the CIA agreed a $600 billion contract with Amazon Web Service to create a safe platform for sharing data among U.S Intelligence community. Last year, the Governments had to clear all the cyerspies and kept those data in the nearly highest level of security, just a level  below national sensitive information.

The target list that Fancy Bear aimed at somewhat indicated that Russia has always kept an eye on these developments. The Gmails of  a Palantir cloud compliance officer the manager of SAP National Security Services cloud platform were broken into by hackers. Mellanox Federal Systems, which proves the U.S government with high-speed data storage, data analysis and cloud computing, was also the victim of cyber attacks.

Cybersecurity specialists claim that it is not suprising that hackers started with private emails because they are the key to more secure Governmental systems.  “For a good operator, it’s like hammering a wedge,” Richard Ford, the chief scientist at Forcepoint company said in a release.

Jerome Pearson, a spacecraft and drone developer, admitted that he has not paid much attention to security training for his staff at  Star Technology. And he included that these training might be featured in the future contracts.

Several officials showed their dissatisfaction with the tardiness of notification to those employees of cloud computing companies, which are responsible for handling data from Intelligence Agencies. “At some point, wouldn’t someone who’s responsible for the defense contractor base be aware of this and try to reach out?” Sowell, the former consultant at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  asked.

To tell the truth, due to the downfall of Russian economy, these cyber attacks seem  useless to bring about new modern weapons for this country. However, though Russia is still behind the USA, they have already been producing more sophisticated drones lately, which were available in some battle zones like Syria or Ukraine for surveillance.

In an aerospace affair outside Moscow last year, the plan for a new generation of fighting drones was publicized. The deputy prime minister Rogozin claimed that the technology gap between Russia and the U.S had gradually been bridged and in the near future it would be completely eliminated. What is the future of military drones and the tech race between Russia and the USA? Only time will tell.


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