Skolkovo Foundation
The Skolkovo Foundation building. Image: Waltermeister / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Russia’s ‘Silicon Valley’ hit by cyberattack; Ukrainian group claims deep access

Ukrainian hackers have breached the systems of Skolkovo Foundation, the agency which oversees the high-tech business area located on the outskirts of Moscow. The Foundation was founded and charged by Russian former President Dmitry Medvedev to rival Silicon Valley in the U.S.

According to Skolkovo's statement, the hackers managed to gain limited access to certain information systems of the organization, including its file hosting service on physical servers.

A group of Ukrainian hacktivists took credit for the attack last week and shared screenshots on Telegram of systems they managed to access.

They also left a message for Skolkovo: “Your infrastructure has been destroyed. We have all the documents and the project source codes. Stay tuned.”

The company's website is up and running at the time of publication, but it took Skolkovo approximately a day to restore all of its services.

The company stated that Russia’s law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation of the incident.

Similar to numerous attacks conducted by Russian and Ukrainian hackers during the ongoing war, this incident appears to hold more symbolic significance rather than practical implications.

According to a Russian Telegram group that analyzes data leaks, there was no compromise of critical user data. The hackers were able to access presentations, photos, contracts, and lists of partners and counterparties of legal entities, the analysis said.

However, Skolkovo is a significant target as it represents Russia’s attempts to recreate the success of the American innovation ecosystem.

Skolkovo was established in 2010 by Medvedev, who initially portrayed himself as a politician with Western leanings. However, he has since shown support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has criticized the U.S. for backing Kyiv.

As a response to the war in Ukraine, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Skolkovo due to its close ties with Russia's defense sector, including sanctioned Russian entities involved in weapon development.

This attack is part of a wider virtual conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Some Ukrainian hacktivists are operating within the IT Army, primarily carrying out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Russian websites, or working independently.

For example, Ukrainian hacktivists have recently attacked the website of Russian internet service provider Miranda Media, which operates out of occupied Crimea and is connected to Russian national telecom provider Rostelecom. Its website is still not accessible.

The company called this incident “the largest cyberattack in its history” as hackers attempted to destroy its infrastructure.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.