Massive number of hacked Russian documents posted online

A group that says it advocates for "transparency" has released hundreds of thousands of documents hacked from Russian sources. The organization, DDoSecret, says that the trove includes “hundreds of thousands of messages and files from Russian politicians, journalists, oligarchs, religious figures, and nationalists/terrorists in Ukraine."

New York Times:

The documents include a voluminous archive of material hacked from Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs that WikiLeaks had declined to publish in 2016, telling Foreign Policy magazine the next year that it “rejects all submissions that it cannot verify” or that it finds “insignificant.”

Also posted are a large collection of Russian emails and other material obtained by Shaltai Boltai, a Russian hacking group; documents from the Russian arms exporting agency Rosoboronexport; and material obtained in what DDoSecrets called a “hacking spree” against Russian targets accused of falsifying the story of the downing in Ukraine of a passenger plane, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, in 2014.

The Russian documents were posted simultaneously on the DDoSecrets website and on the Internet Archive.

Emma Best, a journalist and transparency advocate in Boston who helped organize Distributed Denial of Secrets late last year, said the Russian collection was not posted explicitly as payback for Russia’s 2016 hacks and leaks, though she acknowledged “it does add some appreciable irony.”

“Our motive is to collect and make available materials for a subject that was very underexplored — Russian power circles, how they interconnect, their influence operations,” Ms. Best said. “People have a cursory understanding of that, but outside of a few experts it hasn’t been looked at in detail and contextualized.”

While there are many new documents, DDoSecret says that they have also included documents that have been hacked over the last few years and appeared elsewhere on the web.

While the 2016 American election attack, carried out by Russian military intelligence hackers from the agency known as the G.R.U., has gotten the most attention, similar hack-and-leak operations have been carried out on a daily or weekly basis for years in Eastern Europe. Ukrainian hackers have worked aggressively to expose Russian covert activities in Crimea and the regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by separatist rebels.

Business tycoons have used hackers to go after rivals. Activists have sought to expose wrongdoing by the police and security agencies. The resulting archives of emails and inside documents have been posted all over the web, and the new collection seeks to gather it all in one place.

The Times reports that the trove is so massive that what the documents contain is so far unknown. There is apparently little in the way of a search function that would identify documents by specific subject matter. So journalists are going to have to go through the documents and discover their contents over time.

There are probably some startling revelations. While murder and cybercrimes committed by the Russian goverment almost certainly were never discussed in emails, there may be some evidence of Russian troops being deployed to Eastern Ukraine - despite Putin's continuing denials. Documents relating to the downing of the Ukrainian commercial airliner would also be of huge interest.

This really doesn't sound much like retaliation for Russia leaking US political emails, but schadenfreude is still sweet.

 

A group that says it advocates for "transparency" has released hundreds of thousands of documents hacked from Russian sources. The organization, DDoSecret, says that the trove includes “hundreds of thousands of messages and files from Russian politicians, journalists, oligarchs, religious figures, and nationalists/terrorists in Ukraine."

New York Times:

The documents include a voluminous archive of material hacked from Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs that WikiLeaks had declined to publish in 2016, telling Foreign Policy magazine the next year that it “rejects all submissions that it cannot verify” or that it finds “insignificant.”

Also posted are a large collection of Russian emails and other material obtained by Shaltai Boltai, a Russian hacking group; documents from the Russian arms exporting agency Rosoboronexport; and material obtained in what DDoSecrets called a “hacking spree” against Russian targets accused of falsifying the story of the downing in Ukraine of a passenger plane, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, in 2014.

The Russian documents were posted simultaneously on the DDoSecrets website and on the Internet Archive.

Emma Best, a journalist and transparency advocate in Boston who helped organize Distributed Denial of Secrets late last year, said the Russian collection was not posted explicitly as payback for Russia’s 2016 hacks and leaks, though she acknowledged “it does add some appreciable irony.”

“Our motive is to collect and make available materials for a subject that was very underexplored — Russian power circles, how they interconnect, their influence operations,” Ms. Best said. “People have a cursory understanding of that, but outside of a few experts it hasn’t been looked at in detail and contextualized.”

While there are many new documents, DDoSecret says that they have also included documents that have been hacked over the last few years and appeared elsewhere on the web.

While the 2016 American election attack, carried out by Russian military intelligence hackers from the agency known as the G.R.U., has gotten the most attention, similar hack-and-leak operations have been carried out on a daily or weekly basis for years in Eastern Europe. Ukrainian hackers have worked aggressively to expose Russian covert activities in Crimea and the regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by separatist rebels.

Business tycoons have used hackers to go after rivals. Activists have sought to expose wrongdoing by the police and security agencies. The resulting archives of emails and inside documents have been posted all over the web, and the new collection seeks to gather it all in one place.

The Times reports that the trove is so massive that what the documents contain is so far unknown. There is apparently little in the way of a search function that would identify documents by specific subject matter. So journalists are going to have to go through the documents and discover their contents over time.

There are probably some startling revelations. While murder and cybercrimes committed by the Russian goverment almost certainly were never discussed in emails, there may be some evidence of Russian troops being deployed to Eastern Ukraine - despite Putin's continuing denials. Documents relating to the downing of the Ukrainian commercial airliner would also be of huge interest.

This really doesn't sound much like retaliation for Russia leaking US political emails, but schadenfreude is still sweet.