A collective called NRA has launched the first cyberattack against a Russian software company. The latter would work with the Kremlin, according to hacktivists.
A group of Russian hackers would have formed to act against the Kremlin. This new collective contacted cyber researchers as well as a journalist from the Kyiv Post on October 2, 2022, to inform them of the first attack on Russian soil. Dubbed NRA – an acronym for National Republican Army – this group of hacktivists tricked Unisoftware, a Russian software company, with ransomware. Extracts of databases were shared and the Kyiv Post was able to prove that these are indeed files from the victim company.
In its post-hacking message, the collective asks the company to pay the requested sum, in which case all customer information will be published. This method is uncommon among hacktivists, who generally prefer to undermine the site of an institution to convey a political message . We can also wonder about their real motivation: do the pirates first seek to enrich themselves, harm the regime, or both simultaneously?
A link with an already existing NRA group?
NRA members told the Kyiv Post that the announcement of mobilization was the moment they decided to act. “Putin needlessly sends our young men to die in an unjust war against Ukraine that has resulted in the slaughter of innocent civilians, including women and children“.
Unisoftware did not react and made no statement. The company was allegedly targeted because it works with the authorities in Russia. Hackers say IT officials tried to disrupt the system, but sensitive files were already encrypted.
This is the first time since the invasion last February that a group of Russian-speaking hackers has acted against the regime of Vladimir Putin. In August, the daughter of Alexander Dougin, a Russian ultra-nationalist, was murdered, and Russian opponents claimed responsibility for the attack. Former deputy Ilya Ponomarev would be at the head of this movement, also called NRA. There has been no confirmation yet of any link between these opponents and the hackers.