NATO is Assessing The Data That Were Sold Online By a Hacker Group.

Nato is assessing the data that were sold online by a hacker group
MBDA Missile System: MBDA Missile Systems is one of the largest weapons makers in the world

Nato is assessing the impact of a data breach involving classified military documents that were sold online by a hacker group.

The information includes plans for weapons used by Nato allies in the Ukraine conflict.

After stealing data linked to a major European weapons manufacturer, criminal hackers are selling the dossiers.

MBDA Missile Systems acknowledged that its data was among the cache, but claimed that none of the classified files belonged to the company.

The pan-European company, headquartered in France, stated that its data was stolen from a compromised external hard drive and that it was working with authorities in Italy, where the data breach occurred.

Investigations are said to be centered on one of MBDA's suppliers.

A Nato spokesperson said in a statement: "We are assessing claims relating to data allegedly stolen from MBDA. We have no indication that any Nato network has been compromised."

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

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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" in their advertisement for the stolen data.

MBDA Missile System MBDA Missile Systems is one of the largest weapons makers in the world

The BBC obtained a free 50MB sample of the data, which included documents labeled "NATO CONFIDENTIAL," "NATO RESTRICTED," and "Unclassified Controlled Information."

Nato's classification levels are as follows:

  • COSMIC TOP SECRET: Unauthorized disclosure would be extremely damaging to Nato.
  • NATO SECRET: Unauthorized disclosure would be disastrous for Nato.
  • NATO UNCONFIDENTIAL: Unauthorized disclosure would jeopardize Nato interests.
  • NATO RESTRICTED: unauthorized disclosure would be detrimental to Nato's interests.
  • Unclassified Controlled Information is a US security label for information created or owned by the government that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls under applicable laws, regulations, and government-wide policies.

In addition to the sample, the criminals sent additional documents via email, two of which were marked "NATO SECRET."

The hackers refused to say whether the material came from more than one hacked source.

The files, which the BBC has not been able to independently verify, detail a "communications intelligence" mission carried out by a US air squadron over the Baltics at the end of 2020 in Estonia.

It contains call logs, a person's full name, phone number, and GPS coordinates of who is allegedly at the center of the operation.

"There is a lot of over-classification in Nato," a former Nato official said, "but these labels matter." They are used by the source of the information, and NATO SECRET is not used lightly.

"This is exactly the kind of information Nato does not want out there in the open."

He added that the chances of the documents having been declassified were slim bearing in mind most of the files appeared to have been created between 2017 and 2020.

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A presentation that appeared to detail the inner workings of the Land Ceptor CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile), including the precise location of the electronic storage unit within it, was also included in the sample files.

One of these was recently delivered to Poland for use as part of the Sky Sabre system in the Ukraine conflict and is now operational.

MBDA Missile Systems has not disputed that its information had been breached but said: "According to the company's internal verification processes, the data made available online is neither classified nor sensitive."

Some of the documents known to have been stolen from MBDA, on the other hand, are labeled as "proprietary information not to be disclosed or reproduced."

MBDA Missile Systems was formed in December 2001 by the merger of missile system companies from France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

It employs 13,000 people and is a collaboration between Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo.

It made £3.5 billion in revenue last year and has customers including the UK Ministry of Defence, the US military, the European Union, and Nato.

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