Russia Becoming More Cooperative on Cybercrime
Over the past several years, the Russian government has consistently frustrated European and U.S. officials by refusing to take hard stances regarding organized cybercrime gangs that have become increasingly sophisticated. The organized gangs have stolen millions of identities as well as millions of dollars in employee pay by striking at banking systems throughout Europe and the United States.
During the past few days, however, Russian authorities associated with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) – the successor organization to the KGB – have quietly arrested several men who have been wanted in connection with a notorious cyber-attack on the payment processing unit of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Viktor Pleshchuk, an alleged mastermind behind the $9m attack on the payment processing unit of RBS WorldPay, based in Atlanta, was detained by the FSB and is awaiting next steps in Russia. The group broke RBS encryption protecting the data associated with payroll debit cards and “counterfeit versions of the cards were used in a 12-hour period in late 2008 to withdraw cash from 2,100 ATMs in 280 cities,” according to the original U.S. grand jury indictment in Atlanta.
U.S. experts are cautiously optimistic that this new level of cooperation will continue in the future. The Financial Times quotes Don Jackson, a cybersecurity expert with SecureWorks, in Atlanta, stating that “I believe [the United States is] embarking on an era of genuine co-operation with Russian authorities.”
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