Thursday, 26 January 2017

Russia Arrests Top Cyber Security Expert Amid Allegations Of Treason


The manager responsible for investigating hacking attacks at Russia's biggest private cyber security firm has been arrested amid allegations of bribery and treason involving senior intelligence officers.

Kaspersky Lab, a world-leading cyber security firm based in Moscow, confirmed the arrest of Ruslan Stoyanov, the head of its computer incidents investigations team, on Wednesday.

“The case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky lab. This employee… is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kasperky Lab,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it had no details of the investigation and the activities of its investigations team were unaffected.

The statement came after Russian media reported that Mr Stoyanov has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, the detention facility used by Russia’s Federal Security Service, since December.

Mr Stoyanov worked in Department K, the Russian Interior Ministry’s cyber crime unit, between 2000 and 2006. He joined Kaspersky Lab in July 2012.

Experts in the Russian information security world described him as a respected professional who maintained extensive contacts with his former colleagues in the FSB and the Interior Ministry. The department he ran at Kaspersky Lab has consulted for both agencies on investigating cyber crime cases.

He was arrested last month at the same time as a senior official in the Centre for Information Security, the FSB department responsible for combating hacking and cyber espionage, Kommersant, a Russian daily, reported.

Sergei Mikhailov was detained in connection with a probe into allegations that officers at the agency had received money from an unnamed foreign company via an intermediary who worked at a Russian information security firm, the paper reported citing sources close to the FSB.

Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the Russian security services and cyber espionage, said the case appeared to revolve around a “pretty simple” scheme to bribe the FSB official.

“What we don’t know is the identify of the foreign company offering the alleged bribe, and what exactly they wanted from the Centre for Information Security,” he said.

“The Centre is not a regulator officially, there are other centres in the FSB for that, but they are extremely influential,” he added.

The FSB has not commented on either case.

The arrests come amid heightened scrutiny of Russia’s cyber espionage program following allegations of hacking during the 2016 US elections.

US intelligence services have accused Vladimir Putin of authorizing Russian spy agencies to hack into the Democratic National Convention and leak documents embarrassing to Hillary Clinton in a bid to swing the election in Donald Trump’s favour.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the leaks.



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