Yandex security team caught admin selling access to users’ inboxes

Pierluigi Paganini February 12, 2021

Russian internet and search company Yandex discloses a data breach, a system administrator was selling access to thousands of user mailboxes.

Russian search engine and internet provider Yandex discloses a data breach, the company revealed that one of its system administrators was caught selling access to 4,887 user email accounts.

The security incident was discovered during a routine screening by its internal security team, an internal investigation is still ongoing.

“An internal investigation revealed that an employee had been providing unauthorized access to users’ mailboxes for personal gain. The employee was one of three system administrators with the necessary access rights to provide technical support for the service. As a result of his actions, 4,887 mailboxes were compromised. No payment details held by Yandex were compromised.” reads the press release published by the company. “Yandex’s security team has already blocked unauthorized access to the compromised mailboxes. We have contacted the mailbox owners to alert them about the breach and they have been informed of the need to change their account passwords.”

At the time of this writing, the company did not disclose the name of the unfaithful employee, it only confirmed that he was one of three system administrators with the necessary access rights to provide technical support for the Yandex.Mail service.

The company reported the security incident to the authorities and is notifying the owners of the compromised 4,887 mailboxes.

Yandex announced to have secured the compromised accounts and blocked any other unauthorized access, it forced password resets for impacted accounts.

The company is not aware of any access to user payment data.

“A thorough internal investigation of the incident is under way, and Yandex will be making changes to administrative access procedures. This will help minimize the potential for individuals to compromise the security of user data in future. The company has also contacted law enforcement.” concludes the company.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, data breach)

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