Attackers from the Ukrainian IT army successfully disrupted alcohol shipments in Russia by targeting EGAIS, the country’s primary online portal for alcohol distribution.
According to Russian news portal Vedomosti, Ukrainian hacktivists took down Russia’s central alcohol distribution platform called Unified State Automated Alcohol Accounting Information System or EGAIS, with DDoS attacks launched on May 2nd and 3rd.
EGAIS is an important portal since, as per the law, all alcohol producers and distributors must register their shipments at EGAIS. Therefore, an attack on this platform caused extensive service blockage across Russia.
Details of the Attack
Reportedly, three sites belonging to the platform received DDoS attacks. When checked on May 4th, two EGAIS sites gave the error “the server stopped responding,” and the third didn’t work.
The attacks began on May 2nd and the next day system failures became more obvious. Wine trader Fort claimed that service disruption occurred on May 4th while the Union of Alcohol Producers, Igor Kosarev, and Ladoga representative claimed the same.
Fort’s executive director, Alexander Lipilin, stated that 70% of the invoices failed to be uploaded to EGAIS on May 4th. Strong alcoholic beverages producer Beluga Group didn’t report any problems with EGAIS.
The problem got partially resolved on the morning of May 4th. Out of the 1,500 documents queued in Ladoga, 600 were sent to the system. The problem is expected to be fully fixed within the next two days.
CIFFRA (Center for Research on Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets) director, Vadim Drobiz, stated that the EGAIS attack didn’t affect the end consumer as stores had stocked alcohol before the holidays.
Widespread Impact of the Attack
The entire EGAIS system got paralyzed, and as a result, the alcohol supply chain was disrupted during the May holidays. Vedomosti further noted that the DDoS attacks continued until May 4th, due to which manufacturers and suppliers couldn’t contact technical support to address delays or fix invoices and complete orders.
According to Russian news portal Vedomosti, shipments to retail chains failed for many companies; factories didn’t receive a tank full of alcohol while restaurants couldn’t upload receipts.
“Due to a large-scale failure, factories cannot accept tanks with alcohol, and customers, stores, and distributors cannot receive finished products that have already been delivered to them,” Vedomosti reported.
One of the companies impacted by the closure of the EGAIS portal announced to suspend all purchases as its warehouses were full. The outage mainly affected Vodka distribution, but wine companies also reported service disruption.
Ukrainian Hacktivists Claim Responsibility
Ukrainian hacktivists, particularly the Disbalancer group, claimed responsibility for the attack and announced their plans to launch more attacks on the platform. It is worth noting that the Ukrainian IT Army earlier announced to target EGAIS servers on its Telegram channel, including the portals check.egais.ru, egais.ru, and service.egais.ru.
Ukrainian IT Army is a special cyber force that recruits volunteers from across the globe to launch cyberattacks against Russian infrastructure/entities.
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