The well-known heroic image from Ukraine is that of a farmer pulling a Russian tank with his tractor at the end of February. Now, in the besieged Ukrainian city of Melitopol, the opposite happened: the Russian army fled with tractors and other agricultural equipment worth $5 million. In vain, a Ukrainian businessman told CNN.
After a journey of more than 1,000 kilometers, only in Chechnya the Russians found out that the stolen machines had been banned. John Deere tractors, combine harvesters and seed drills are equipped with a GPS-enabled anti-theft system. “It wasn’t until after the hackers drove the stolen harvesting machines into Chechnya that they found out that they couldn’t operate them because the machines were remotely locked,” a CNN source told CNN.
The hacked software comes from Ukraine
The Russians may be able to get around the siege, although that is not easy. John Deere machines have been criticized in recent years for their enclosed design. Farmers can no longer repair their own tractors without the cooperation of the manufacturer, which has already led to complaints in the United States. John Deere can turn off all its modern devices even without the cooperation of the owner, which is a rarity in practice.
John Deere’s situation is causing some farmers to install hacked software on their tractors so they can perform “unauthorized” repairs. This hacked program was made in Ukraine.
Nor is it the first time the Russian military has inadvertently publicized its movements via technology: the Russian invasion of Ukraine was caught early on via Google Maps.
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