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Russia’s secret intelligence agency hacks in ‘largest data breach in its history’

Hackers have successfully targeted FSB—Russia’s Federal Security Service and managed to steal 7.5 terabytes of data from a major contractor, exposing secret FSB projects.

According to Zak Doffman, a Forbes Contributor, the data was passed to mainstream media outlets for publishing.

FSB is Russia’s primary security agency with parallels with the FBI and MI5, but its remit stretches beyond domestic intelligence to include electronic surveillance overseas and significant intelligence-gathering oversight. It is the primary successor agency to the infamous KGB, reporting directly to Russia’s president.

A week ago, on July 13, a hacking group under the name 0v1ru$ that had reportedly breached SyTech, a major FSB contractor working on a range of live and exploratory internet projects, left a smiling Yoba Face on SyTech’s homepage alongside pictures purporting to showcase the breach.

0v1ru$ had passed the data itself to the larger hacking group Digital Revolution, which shared the files with various media outlets and the headlines with Twitter—taunting FSB that the agency should maybe rename one of its breached activities “Project Collander.”

BBC Russia broke the news that 0v1ru$ had breached SyTech’s servers and shared details of contentious cyber projects, projects that included social media scraping (including Facebook and LinkedIn), targeted collection and the “de-anonymization of users of the Tor browser.”

The BBC described the breach as possibly “the largest data leak in the history of Russian intelligence services” but claims that no actual state secrets were exposed.

As well as defacing SyTech’s homepage with the Yoba Face, 0v1ru$ also detailed the project names exposed: “Arion”, “Relation”, “Hryvnia,” alongside the names of the SyTech project managers.

Digital Revolution passed the information to journalists without anything being edited, removed or changed—they said. Little is known about 0v1ru$ and the group has not come forward with any comment, neither has FSB.

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