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Yandex source code leaked on a hacking forum

Attackers leaked the source code of Russia’s largest IT corporation Yandex, that‘s often dubbed the Russian Google.

Someone has uploaded an archive on a popular hacking forum with over 44GB of data, revealing Yandex source code. The attacker claims to have downloaded the data in July 2022.

According to Arseniy Shestakov, a researcher who claims to have investigated leaked data, the archive contains the content of a repository without any additional data. Shestakov says that all files are dated to February 24, 2022, the day on which Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Yandex source code
Announcement on the hacker forum. Image by Cybernews.

Source code leaks pose severe security issues to companies as threat actors can get a glimpse of the company’s intellectual property and system data. Revealing source code can allow attackers to later craft targeted security exploits.

According to Shestakov, the leak includes the source code of all major Yandex services such as its search engine, Yandex Maps, AI assistant Alice, Yandex Taxi, Yandex Mail, Yandex Pay, and many other services. However, the researchers claim the leak doesn’t include any user or employee personal data.

The company told Russian media it was aware of the leak and has launched an investigation to understand how “fragments of the source code” got into the public domain.

However, Yandex stressed that the company was not “hacked” since the leaked archive only includes code fragments from an internal repository that contains different data from what’s used in the latest version of the repository.

The dating of the leaked files could indicate that the threat actors behind the leak were motivated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The incident wouldn’t be the first one when pro-Ukrainian hackers target Yandex.

Last year, attackers meddled with the ride-hailing service Yandex Taxi to create a long traffic jam in the Russian capital. Hackers breached the app, sending dozens of cars to the exact location, forming a traffic jam that lasted up to three hours.

EU has sanctioned the company’s co-founder Arkady Volozh, claiming his search engine is “de-ranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

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