Former Employee tried to sell Yandex Source Code for Just $29K

Pierluigi Paganini December 29, 2015

A former employee at stole the source code of the Yandex Search Engine and its algorithms and tried to sell the for tens of thousands of euro.

A former employee, Dmitry Korobov, of Russian search engine Yandex is accused of stealing the source code and algorithms implemented by the company. The man alleged attempted to sell them on the black market to an electronics retailer called NIX.

The news was reported by the Russian publication Kommersant, Korobov downloaded has stolen a software called “Arcadia” from company’s servers which contained essential information, including the source code and some of the “key algorithms” implemented in its engine.

“According to the indictment read out by the prosecutor during the meeting, in March 2015, Dmitry Korobov, still working “Yandex”, “carried up from the server” Yandex “software” Arcadia “, containing the source code and algorithms of the search engine” Yandex “in for which is set to trade secrets on a removable storage medium for subsequent transfer to third parties. ” states Kommersant.

“Source: “b” familiar with the investigation affirms that the value of the stolen source code and search algorithms evaluated in the “billions of rubles, which, in fact, represents a significant part of the value of” Yandex “, as the search engine – the main service company.””

The most disconcerting aspect of this absurd story is that Korobov requested only $25,000 and 250,000 rubles (a total of almost $29,000) for both the Yandex’s source code and algorithms.

A few thousand dollars for software that worth “Billions of Rubles”! Consider that the leakage of the software would have been a disaster for the Russian company.

Yandex saerch engine

Korobov was identified and arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) before selling the precious software.

Korobov was already on a trial court, he received a suspended sentence of 2 years in jail after been accused of illegal possession as well as the distribution of commercial secrets.  Yandex representative during the hearing in court explained the importance of the Arcadia software.

The Arcadia software “is a key part of [the] company, it was related directly to Yandex’s search engine, which is the [primary] source of the company’s income,” a Yandex representative said in court.

The incident raises once again the problem of the insiders and the importance to monitor the internal assets, including source code.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – data theft, insider)

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