Sberbank and VTB Bank say clients’ personal data was not included in search results on Yandex

Meduza

Sberbank and VTB Bank say their clients’ personal data was not included in search results on Yandex, which until recently was indexing large amounts of private information made public on Google Docs. Earlier this week, search engine expert Pavel Medvedev revealed that he was able to find personal data from Sberbank clients and information about people shared on the websites of VTB Bank, Moscow’s Transport Department, and the travel aggregator Trip.com.

Spokespeople for Sberbank told Interfax that its experts analyzed every hyperlink that appeared online and found no personal data belonging to its clients. VTB Bank told the news agency TASS that no client information reached the open Internet. “It’s been established that the incident occurred through the fault of a third party. At the same time, information concerning bank secrets was not transferred to third parties,” VTB Bank said in a statement, giving no further details.

On the evening of July 4, Russian Internet users realized that the search engine Yandex has been indexing a surprising array of information stored on Google Docs, including files containing passwords, credit card numbers, and corporate documents. Yandex’s press service says the company’s actions were perfectly legitimate, but within hours of the discovery the search engine stopped producing any hyperlinks to Google Docs. In this special report, Meduza took a closer look at what information accidentally leaked to the public, and how it might have happened.