The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) is being investigated by the Russian government due to corruption claims. Meanwhile, the agency has faced a devastating cyber attack, allegedly from hacker group Anonymous.
Systemic corruption in Russian Aviation Authority
The government launched the investigation based on reports of “ghost workers” within the organisation. The information posted on Russian Telegram channels claimed that many people were receiving salaries whilst not providing any service to the organisation. The majority of the blame lies on Ilya Moiseenko, the Head of State Air Traffic Management Corporation, the department responsible for navigation services. It is said that Moiseenko handed out high-paying positions to relatives who did not perform any meaningful role within the company.
Key positions were also given to individuals with connections to Russian Technology corporations so that Moiseenko could embezzle money through equipment purchases. Nezygar, an anonymous Telegram news channel, says that over 1 billion rubles were stolen from Rosaviatsiya, or just under $12 million. According to Nezygar, President Putin was made aware of the situation last week and seeks to replace Rosaviatsiya’s head, Alexander Neradko. Several alternative candidates have already been suggested.
Convenient cyber attack
On March 26th, a vast cyberattack was carried out on the Russian aviation Authority, erasing 65 Terabytes of data, including aircraft registration, documents and emails from the last year and a half. Conveniently for Moiseenko and others, all information on the management structure of Rosaviatsiya was also scrubbed from the agency’s website.
Some online media sources have credited the attack to the vigilante hacker group Anonymous, following a spate of similar attacks on Russian infrastructure. Earlier in the conflict, the group hacked Russian TV networks, interrupting regular programming to show images of bombs being dropped on Ukraine and soldiers talking about the war. However, if this latest attack was the work of anonymous, it may not have had the effect that they desired.
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