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FSB Contractor Hacked, Secret Russian Projects Exposed

A group of hackers has leaked online information on secret projects allegedly stolen from the servers of Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) contractor Sytech.

The hackers, which operate under the name of 0v1ru$, managed to steal over 7.5TB of data after gaining access to the contractor’s systems on July 13, 2019. The group also defaced Sytech’s website (www.sytech.ru) to display an image of "Yoba-face," as proof of the hack. 

The group then shared the stolen data with the hacking group DigitalRevolution, which claimed to have targeted Russian research institute "Kvant," which is under FSB administration. Digital Revolution then shared the information with Russian media.

BBC Russia, which claims to have had access to the stolen information, reveals that Sytech was involved in around 20 non-public projects on behalf of the Russian secret service. 

The information that was leaked online following the breach includes details on secret projects to collect data on users, de-anonymize users on TOR, and penetrate networks, among others. 

Some of the leaked projects include Mentor – to monitor selected email addresses at specific intervals to collect information; Hope – to isolate Russia from the rest of the Internet; Nautilus – to collect user information from social networks (the project was developed between 2009 and 2010); and Reward – to penetrate peer-to-peer networks (targeting the BitTorrent network protocol). 

Another important project on the list is Nautilus-S, which was aimed at de-anonymizing users on the Tor network through exit nodes controlled by the Russian government. The project was apparently developed in 2012 and also involved replacing visited websites with specially created sites. 

The leak also included various other older projects that targeted network protocols such as Jabber, ED2K, and OpenFT, BBC Russia says. The site notes that this might be the largest data leak related to FSB’s various operations on the Internet, but points out that no state secrets were exposed in the hack. 

Sytech’s website was taken offline soon after the hack became public knowledge. 

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