A well-known internet provider in Moscow, Akado Telecom has recently braved a data breach. Much to the woes of its wealthy CEO Viktor Vekselberg, a majority of the affected clients are influential Muscovites. The leak has allegedly resulted in the personal information of customers being displayed online. These include names and details as intimate as addresses and mobile numbers.
Akado Telecom uses three sub-networks with 24,500 IP addresses in total. The corporate management has accepted that all of these individual users were equally at risk. The leak in the discussion led to the online availability of the mobile phones and addresses of influential Russians. These include an important government official, the relative of a well-known businessman and a famous movie director.
Other than individual customers, the breach also affected high profile business Akado Telecom clients. These include banks and government agencies. The data leak has put the information of these organizations as well as of their staffs at high risk.
The data leak involves a database called RIPE NCC which is a not-for-profit internet registry for the Middle East, Europe and some parts of Central Asia. The purpose of this database is to list what IP addresses are in use by different internet providers. The database is, by no means, supposed to put out personal information like that. Vladislav Zdolnikov, an IT specialist, provided the important information about RIPE NCC.
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Companies that are enlisted in the registry are expected to put their information up themselves. The RIPE NCC Communications Director, Aleksei Semenyaka, therefore, claims that Akado Telecom leaked the data itself. It has been confirmed that the leaked data can, indeed, be accessed freely.
The resulting circumstances have pushed Akado Telecoms into a tight corner. The corporate management assures that they have officiated investigations. Any official statement by Akado Telecom has not yet confirmed whether someone hacked the data or whether Akado uploaded the personal information itself. A sturdy investigation is essential as, by 2006 law of the Russian government, personal data leaks are illegal. There is a penalty of up to 50,000 rubles to be paid by the company responsible.
The official company statement by Akado Telecoms reads:
“We always respond to criticism with attention and gratitude and conduct thorough analyses to uncover vulnerabilities in our information systems in order to prevent possible data leaks.”
A personal data breach of this level can have far-reaching consequences. This idea sounds solid with the famous Russian secret services personnel data breach. Said breach was the hottest story of early 2018. It led to the identification and confirmation of Sergei Skripal being a Russian spy who was also a double agent for the British intelligence. The data leak also shamed Russia as it proved Russian involvement in the infamous poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March 2018. Even more so, names and personal details of the Russian secret agents associated with the attack were leaked as well.
The Russian government and the system, in general, would, therefore, look on and wait for the result of this ongoing investigation which could shape any future policy around similar personal data leaks.