Breach, Malware

Pro-Ukrainian hackers boast success in disrupting Russian alcohol industry with DDoS attacks

The IT Army of Ukraine conducted DDoS attacks on the Russian service for shipping and receiving alcohol. Pictured: A general view at Science Museum on Nov. 11, 2013, in London. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images for Russian Standard Vodka)

A volunteer hacker group coordinated by Ukraine successfully disrupted aspects of the Russian alcohol industry by targeting the mandatory government sales tracking service, according to several reports in Russian media outlets.

The IT Army of Ukraine first called for coordinated DDoS attacks on the United State Automated Information System (EGAIS) on Tuesday.

"If the system is down, the official turnover of liquor and spirits in Russia will be blocked," IT Army told its followers on its official Telegram service.

The EGAIS service is required for shipping and receiving of alcohol.

On Wednesday, the group began internally boasting that its successes shuttering servers had reached the Russian media, with several screen captures of news stories.

"Russian media reports about our progress! They've also mentioned that protracted disruptions in 'EGAIS' service would lead to suspending operations and thus result in decreased income to the aggressor country's budget. That sounds like a good reason to push on!" the group wrote.

By Thursday, those disruptions became real. Lagoda, a wine and spirits manufacturer, told Vedomosti, that 70% of its transactions failed to clear in EGAIS during the height of the attacks. The Moscow Brewing Company, which reportedly normally produces 90,000 cans of beer an hour, stopped production on Thursday amid the attacks, Russian beverage trade Profibeer reported. By Thursday, EGAIS appeared to be properly functioning again.

Attacks on the Russian spirits industry largely only affect Russians, as the international export of Russian-distilled alcohol is rare. While Americans boycotted vodka at the start of the war in Ukraine, most of the high profile Vodka companies, including ones with Russian names like Smirnoff, are distilled domestically. The vast majority of Russian vodka, 90%, is consumed in Russia.

Joe Uchill

Joe is a senior reporter at SC Weekly, focused on policy issues. He previously covered cybersecurity for Axios, The Hill and the Christian Science Monitor’s short-lived Passcode website.

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