back to article While we were raging about Putin's meddling and Kremlin hackers, Five Eyes were pwning Yandex, Russia's Google

Hackers from the Five Eyes intelligence agencies have been accused of breaking into systems at Yandex, dubbed Russia's Google. A report by Reuters today cites four sources claiming Western spies are believed to be behind a malware infection spotted spreading among developer machines at the Russian search, webmail, and …

  1. Christoph

    It's easy to tell whether or not NSA and GCHQ are grabbing some particular information.

    If it is technically possible for them to grab the information, then they are grabbing the information.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      "If it is technically possible for them to grab the information, then they are grabbing the information."

      Presumably Rule 34 still applies?

      In which case, yuk.

  2. Blockchain commentard

    "was called in by Yandex to help clean up the infection and help attribute the attack to Five Eyes intel agencies." so that reads to me as though the Russian authorities told the BIg K to say it was the Five Eyes regardless of whether it was or not. I mean, it probably was, but it's worded strangely.

    1. JohnFen

      Yes, it's weird phrasing. There is a reasonable possible explanation, though. When you've been breached, it is not terribly uncommon for it to be pretty clear who the attacker was but not have ironclad proof (this is particularly true if the attackers were professionals). In such a case, one of the things you would task the cleanup team with is to find that proof.

      I'm not saying that's what the case is here -- I have no way of knowing one way or another -- but it is a plausible explanation.

      1. Nick Kew

        Nuances like that could arise from the translation. After all, we have a long tradition of translations completely changing the meaning of a story: for instance, many of the core Bible narratives.

        In this instance, of course we can't know. The timing looks suspiciously like hitting back at recent stories, though as far as I recollect the current crop haven't been directed at Russia but instead cast China and Iran as their villains. Maybe they suspect a new Russian-spying story could be next?

        1. BebopWeBop

          The Bible - translation? - I have read it in the original English, no translation needed.

          1. Alister

            The Bible - translation? - I have read it in the original Klingon, no translation needed.


      2. jgarbo
        Big Brother

        If you know you were breached, it was an amateur. Now imagine all the pros you missed.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    I use the Clickhouse DB on a few mail servers (its developed by Yandex staff) I might take a wander through the source some day - its probably got a revolving door on it.

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    "Ensuring the security of user data is of critical importance to us"

    Said Yandex, and yet they were using Windows machines all along.

  5. mics39
    Big Brother

    Watch out

    You’re never safe from the Rogue State and its bestest special relationship lappie.

  6. tjbutt

    The Grand Game

    Of course Five Eyes complains about hacking, and of course they hack. It's not hypocritical, it's just part of the business.

    Both activities are intended to gain an advantage in some way.

    It's plausible that the Five Eyes hack less, compared to many other countries, but that's it.

    1. Dr.Flay

      Re: The Grand Game

      OK. so lets get the maths of that right.

      5 Countries in a group, probably do less hacking than 1 country on its own.

      BTW. 5-Eyes is the original name and now there is 9-Eyes, and even 14-Eyes, so maybe they hack even less because there is even more of them ?

      1. tjbutt

        Re: The Grand Game

        OK, so individuals within the Five Eyes (say USA, for instance) probably hack less than some other countries. I don't think they generally indulge in large scale industrial espionage (unlike PRC almost certainly does), for instance.

        The USA very likely deployed Stuxnet. Russia very likely attacked the Ukranian power system twice in a few months. There have very likely been similar cyber-physical attacks mounted by both sides in the past 20 years or so - Stuxnet was just the first well known one.

        Without having access to the sort of information that is well classified, informed speculation on other comparisons, eg who hacks the most, is almost impossible.

        And the five eyes is still the five eyes.

    2. Nick Kew
      Big Brother

      Re: The Grand Game

      It's not hypocritical, it's just part of the business.

      That's not either/or. It's totally hypocritical (which is what motivates me to criticise them). But it's also just part of the business.

      It's plausible that the Five Eyes hack less, compared to many other countries, but that's it.

      Your "plausible" is quite a stretch there. Stuxnet alone was in a class of its own!

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Aitor 1

      Re: The Grand Game

      Highly unlikely.

      We devote way more money to hacking than Russia, and the us likes to keep a tight leash on telco manufacturers, in order to hack among other things.

      This has been going on for decades, so why do people speak about it now?

    5. JohnFen

      Re: The Grand Game

      "It's not hypocritical, it's just part of the business."

      It is part of the business, and it's also 100% hypocritical.

  7. eldakka

    ... Are ... are we the baddies?

    I prefer Us versus Them, it simplifies things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      From where I stand, it's more like "you" and "them". It's becoming a bit difficult to tell sides apart, to be honest.

      Well, there's one that's decided to get rid of the hypocrisy, at least:

  8. Jove Bronze badge

    Motivations ...

    The alleged crack is alleged to have taken place in October 2018 - why release the story now?

    It is alleged that the target was the "research and development" unit, but given the events of October and November 2018, is that not a cover story?

    1. jasonbrown1965

      Re: Motivations ...

      The point of cover stories is not just to cover up one story but create doubt about all stories.

      Deny, deflect, defuse, or something like that.

  9. 0laf Silver badge
    Big Brother

    LOL is this actually a shock to anyone? We've been leaning on businesses to tap cables for us for decades.

  10. NonSSL-Login

    No Shit Sherlock

    If you have not read every story in the papers where the UK or US complain about Russian or Chinese hacking and not thought 'we are hypocrites, why make a song and dance about stuff we are doing daily too?' then you have not been keeping up with what the spy agencies of the world do.

    The Five eyes countries are hacking every other country for economical and political benefit daily with hundreds of operations going targeting thousands of people. So is China, Russia, North Korean, Iran and many other countries you hear little about.

    We talk about Russia influencing elections but forget how many coups the CIA have been involved with and the fact the US and UK military have departments just dealing with social media influencing to point people towards whatever goal we want.

    So next article ask once again, are hypocritical much?

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