Computer hacking reveals Italian spying on Russia, India

CNAIPIC emblem

CNAIPIC emblem

Documents posted online by an anonymous hacker group point to extensive Italian espionage against Russian and Indian defense and energy deals. The hacked documents contain raw data and intelligence reports authored by officials in Italy’s National Anti-Crime Computer Center for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CNAIPIC), an electronic security outfit operating under the auspices of the Italian National Police. It appears that Italian National Police servers were recently hacked by a group of international hackers calling itself Anonymous Hackers for Antisec Operation. On July 26, the group published over eight gigabytes of hacked CNAIPIC documents on various subjects, ranging from reports on Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation to information about the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam). Among the documents are reports that seem to point to systematic intelligence-gathering operations by CNAIPIC against Russia’s government-owned energy and defense industries. Some of the information contained in the reports appears to have been stolen from the embassy of India in Moscow, probably through cyberespionage. The stolen information would suggest that CNAIPIC has had access since late 2009 to confidential correspondence between the Indian embassy and a number of Russian military aircraft industries, including Aviazapchast, Ilyushin Aircraft, and NPO Saturn. Several of the reports contain complete or partial email messages exchanged between the Russian companies and D.S. Shekhavat, the Indian embassy’s Air Attaché. The hacker group that raided the Italian National Police servers posted a directory image containing a listing of the hacked documents, and promised an “update on this one”. IntelNews showed some of the hacked documents to a European veteran intelligence official, who said the subject of the documents points to Russia as a primary target of CNAIPIC espionage, with the Indian embassy’s correspondence being simply “collateral damage” in the overall operation.

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