The website of the Russian space agency Roscosmos was hit by a cyberattack this week after the agency head shared satellite images of the premises of a NATO summit in Spain and command centers in countries — including the U.S. — that are members of the alliance.
The incident apparently involved a DDoS attack, which Cloudflare — a tech company whose services help fight back against DDoS attacks — defines as “a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.” The origin of the cyberattack targeting Roscosmos has allegedly been traced to inside Russia, according to RIA, a Russian government-owned news service.
The shared images were no doubt meant as some kind of intimidation tactic, but they don’t seem to be actually new. “Head of Roskosmos @Rogozin is again threatening NATO with satellite imagery taken by Russian “Resurs-P” satellite,” journalist Mark Krutov shared. “The problem is that the imagery is from 2020-2021, and all three “Resurs-P” satellites are not functional anymore.” According to Krutov, Russian officials themselves have indicated none of those satellites remain functional. An image of the Pentagon was included among the shared images, but there’s an area depicted that apparently looks dramatically different at present than what’s shown. It’s a helipad where “reconstruction” has since been started.
“See that helipad? It was mid-2021 when it looked like this for the last time,” Krutov explained, alongside images including one the Russian space agency head shared. “Since that [point] the area undergoes massive reconstruction, so there’s no way this image could have been taken in 2022.” This occasion isn’t the first time Dmitry Rogozin, who leads Roscosmos, has shared satellite imagery intended as some kind of scare to the West that wasn’t actually new. “In April 2022 Rogozin already posted Resurs-P imagery, saying “we are watching you” to NATO,” Krutov explained. “Back then he was dumb enough to keep the caption, which says that the image have actually been taken back in 2020.” The date isn’t included in new images Rogozin shared.
In other related news, NATO leaders have now formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the expansive alliance, which they applied to become members of after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There must be unanimous agreement among NATO members before the addition of a country to the alliance, and Turkish leadership had been opposing Sweden and Finland becoming members — but there’s now been an agreement struck between Turkey, Sweden, and Finland, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to stop blocking those two countries joining the alliance. Leaders of NATO countries reached apparent unanimous agreement on the issue after that deal was developed. Before the process is finalized, the national legislatures of every NATO member must approve the addition of Finland and Sweden; in the U.S., officials including President Biden are in support of the move. One of the major benefits of NATO is that member countries agree to assist in the defense of another member if that nation is attacked.