Hackers take over Putin’s yatch systems for supporting Ukraine

A hacktivism group allegedly linked to the Anonymous hacking operation claims to have found a way to alter maritime traffic data in order to divert the luxurious Graceful yatch, owned by Vladimir Putin from its established route, showing that its new destination was “hell”. It should be remembered that this hacking group has undertaken multiple attacks against the Russian government and its computer infrastructure due to the military invasion in Ukraine.

This luxurious 82-meter yacht had been in the process of remodeling since last year at the Blohm-Voss shipyard in Germany, where its hull and engine were thoroughly cleaned and two new balconies were placed on it, as recently reported.

After the invasion of Ukrainian territory began, Putin ordered the Graceful to return from the Hamburg shipyard to Kaliningrad, on Russian territory, in a tactic to prevent the luxury yacht from being seized by international authorities as part of the economic sanctions that the West and the European Union are imposing on Russia.

The hacking group, identified as Anonleaks, gave an interview to journalist Ryan Gallagher, during which they claimed to have manipulated the Automatic Identification System (UPS), used to track the locations of all kinds of vessels globally.

In his chronicle, Galagher shares some of the words of the alleged hackers: “They changed the fate of the yacht to ‘hell’ and also changed its badge to the acronym ‘FCKPTN’. They said they wanted to put the yacht within reach of authorities who have applied sanctions to the Russian government, as well as put a small smile on some faces for a brief period in these dark times.”

However, the yacht did not actually move from its scheduled course, as the modified data only functions as an indicator of the route programmed by the crew. The yacht arrived on Russian territory without setbacks, preventing it from being confiscated, as NATO continues to look for ways to punish the Russian regime economically.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.