Cyberactivists have announced the release of a massive archive with leaked information from Russian oligarchs and journalists
According to network security and ethical hacking specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security, a website has announced that it will soon reveals hundreds of thousands of emails leaked from Russian oligarchs and communist supporters, in the same way that the WikiLeaks platform does, although Julian Assange has never leaked information from this country.
Distributed Denial of Secrets, the site that has announced the leaking, was founded just a couple of months ago by transparency cyberactivists. Emma Best, founder of the site, says that the site will host hacked materials very difficult to find or that even has already disappeared of the web.
“On the site you will find information on politicians, businessmen, journalists, the religious elite, nationalist and separatist groups, even terrorists operating abroad,” says Best, journalist specializing in national security. “Leaked information includes emails, Skype and Facebook messages, as well as thousands of documents.”
Distributed Denial of Secrets is a newly launched collaborative effort founded with the aim of providing journalists with a central source of information, mentioned experts in network security. As an advance, the site already shows leaked information from the Ministry of the Interior in Russia, where details of Russian military deployment in Ukraine are mentioned; the administrators of Distributed Denial of Secrets claim that WikiLeaks refused to host much of the information that could be found on this site.
On the other hand, the network security expert Nicholas Weaver of the University of California says: “WikiLeaks’ main task is to organize and publish information available on other platforms. Although Assange has never been involved with information from Russia”, mentions the expert.
The Distributed Denial of Secrets project has gathered over 200k emails in a spreadsheet to facilitate searches for stakeholders. In total, its database has about 175 GB, an amount higher than that leaked by Russian hackers during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The site database includes information related to relevant Russian characters, such as Alezander Budberg, a well-known columnist, Kirill Frolov, deputy director of the CIS Institute, and Vladislav Surkov, a man close to Vladimir Putin. In the case of Surkov, his files contain details of the Kremlin’s covert campaign in favor of the Ukrainian separatists; although the Russian government claimed that these evidences had been falsified, subsequent forensic analyses proved their veracity.
At a time when leaks of sensitive information have become almost a competitive activity between nations and activists, the interested people have to act carefully about possible hoaxes or intentionally manipulated information. This project has tried to mitigate these risks in the same way as WikiLeaks: Verifying the cryptographic signatures added by the server, so that Distributed Denial of Secrets does not store information without verifying its authenticity.
Despite the fact that the project is still very young, Best claims that they have already faced reprisals, probably on the part of the actors involved. In a moment, while maintaining the site, the managers detected some attempts to cyber, which reacted immediately. “We made some changes, sent copies of our databases to multiple servers and organized secure offline storage along with a third party,” said Best. “Although we have failed to identify more potential security incidents, we decided to take precautions”.