• Team OneFist strikes again inside Russia, on the Kupros Paper Mill
  • The group's founder reveals reason behind selection of target
  • Team OneFist's overcame stiff cyber resistance to carry out the attack 

Russia's cyber offensive capabilities were something that the west feared when its forces invaded Ukraine. But, like its army in Ukraine, the Russia's cyber army has also been reduced to a paper tiger as groups of volunteer hacktivists have smashed through the Kremlin's cyber defenses repeatedly since February when the invasion began.

Team OneFist, a new breed of cyber warriors fighting for Ukraine, has muscled its way to the cyber frontlines with Russia with some spectacular attacks, and the latest they carried out was on the Kupros Paper Mill.

The attack, again a SCADA attack, was directed at a paper mill located in the Novosibirsk Oblast. The team gained access to the control systems at the mill, which allowed them to destroy pieces of machinery and equipment and inflict millions of dollars in damages to the company.

The Team OneFist founder, who goes by the pseudonymous Twitter handle Voltage, shared details of the attack in an exclusive interview with International Business Times. He said the team reprogrammed all the control systems and "demolished" the firm's Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and database. The system, they said, "did not recover." But it was an attack that met with stiff cyber resistance.

Team OneFist
the official logo of Team OneFist Voltage/Twitter DM

"The attack was carefully planned and executed when the plant was first turned on in the morning," Voltage disclosed. "The Orcs (Ukrainians' term for Russian invaders) fought back, but they failed in the end as we destroyed the database and corrupted the primary. Thirty hours later it is still gone."

Voltage uses the term Orcs as an insult to the Russians.

A tug-of-war ensued as "a real-time fight broke out immediately, the Orcs rebooted the machine many times, then restored from backup but the database was already gone," the Team OneFist founder revealed. "We trolled them with new titles until they gave up and ran away (the Orcs' signature move)," he added.

When asked why the Kupros Paper Mill, Voltage offered three reasons, which all boil down to hurting Russia where it hurts the most.

"Russia is suffering from paper and paint shortages and has real trouble packaging simple things like milk. What we think of as obvious (sic), they struggle to find now. Paper (cardboard) is used in every MRE meal sent to the front and every roll of toilet paper, etc. By further denying Russia that resource, we increase the pressure and logistical difficulty from a thousand directions at once (as paper is used in so much of our world)," the self-taught hacktivist shared.

The paper mill attack also enabled the team to wreak economic damage on the oligarch who owns the business, hoping that the attacks would soon turn these wealthy business owners against Russia. "It allowed us to do enormous economic damage to Russia, which in most cases leads back to an oligarch," Voyager said.

"It is most often the case that the costs to Russia of what we are doing come out of the oligarchs' pockets 90% of the time. By constantly causing them millions and millions in damages every month, we are hoping (literally) to turn them against Putin faster than is already happening," he noted.

Voyager said "the propaganda victory of a thorough attack on an orc factory is something Ukrainians love to hear" and compared Ukrainians' reaction to people who "just won the lottery." The attack, he said, "has an almost magical effect on the ground."

The Kupros Paper Mill was opened in 2019 and describes itself as the "only mini-factory in Russia that produces up to 5 tons of paper per day." It was also planning to upgrade its equipment to "increase productivity and get significant profits," but Team OneFist's latest attack seem to be big enough to disrupt those plans.