Russian cybersecurity expert arrested over treason charges
Wed 25 Jan 2017
Cybersecurity expert Ruslan Stoyanov of Russia’s leading anti-virus company Kaspersky Lab has been arrested on charges of treason.
According to information reported [Russian] by national newspaper Kommersant, the head of investigations at the multinational cybersecurity provider has been in pre-trial detention, alongside an official from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), since December 2016.
Stoyanov, an employee at Kaspersky since 2012, is an incident response specialist with particular expertise in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. He is also thought to have held top positions within Moscow’s Ministry of Interior between 2000 and 2006.
Kaspersky Lab has confirmed the arrest but has not revealed any further details on the probe. In an email statement, a spokesperson for the company said: ‘This case is not related to Kaspersky Lab…Ruslan Stoyanov is under investigation for a period pre-dating his employment at Kaspersky Lab. We do not possess details of the investigation. The work of Kaspersky Lab’s Computer Incidents Investigation Team is unaffected by these developments.’
The anti-hacking expert has worked closely with Russian authorities on a number of high-profile cyber investigations. In a 2016 blog post titled The Hunt for Lurk, Stoyanov details a collaborative effort to find and arrest criminals involved in the ‘Lurk’ campaign which involved the theft of millions of rubles from Russian banks.
The FSB’s Sergei Mikhailov, held alongside Stoyanov, was reportedly deputy chief of the agency’s Information Security Centre. The official has been accused of receiving payments from foreign companies, according to Kommersant.
Tass, Russia’s state news agency, also reported that the arrests were linked to the same case. It noted that detectives are in the process of investigating the FSB Information Security Centre and its ‘connection to private companies cooperating with the division in the field of cybercrime expert studies.’
Founded in 1997, Kaspersky Lab is based in Moscow and operates worldwide in over 200 countries and territories. The company ranks fourth globally for revenue in the anti-virus market, according to 2010 research from analyst IDC.