A former employee of Russian search engine Yandex has reportedly tried to sell information on the black market about the company’s proprietary source code.
The source code and algorithms were stolen by the former employee, with his intentions being to sell them to fund his startup.
This news comes from Russian newspaper Kommersant which also reports that the employee, Dmitriy Korobov, intended to sell the information for $25,000.
Another report indicates that Korbov was likely unaware of the value of the information he had, hence the low asking price. Yonder estimated the value of the stolen information to be in the multiple millions of dollars.
Regardless of what Korbov was asking, his plan was thwarted by Russia’s Federal Security Service before any transaction could take place.
Experts within the industry believe that the stolen information would not have been valuable to rival companies like Google. The information would have been more valuable in the hands of agencies who could use the algorithmic information for advanced SEO purposes.
Korbov’s scheme earned him a guilty verdict, along with prison sentence of two years in jail. When Russia’s Federal Security Service learned that Korbov was attempting to sell the stolen information on darkness hacker forums, action was taken to see he was arrested when he came to meet with a potential buyer.
While Yandex doesn’t hold a commanding share of the search market in North America, it is by far the market leader in Russia with a 57.2% share as of November 2015. By comparison, Google holds 35.2% market share in Russia.