Hacker Hunters: Meet the Russian Nightmare for Cybercriminals

© REUTERS / Kacper Pempel/IllustrationA hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017
A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017 - Sputnik International
Sputnik was lucky to speak with the founder of one of the global leaders of busting hackers, the international Group-IB.

On May 22, Russia's Interior Ministry reported that a group of 20 hackers suspected of infecting a million smartphones with the Trojan virus and stealing $884,000 had been detained. And it actually was Group-IB, the Interpol's partner, which had helped the law enforcement to track down the criminals.

"Investigation in the digital world is the pursuit and finding of a culprit by tracking the mistakes he or she has made. Our role in assisting investigators can be compared to that of Sherlock Holmes who consulted Inspector Lestrade," CEO Ilya Sachkov explained to Sputnik at the CIPR conference.

Founded in 2003 by the then-student, Group-IB has won the fame of a trusted shield and sword against cybercrime with over 120 high-profile investigations.

It specializes in probing "extremely complicated" cases and bringing culprits to justice in cooperation with law enforcement and creating defense which prevents cyberattacks at the stage of their preparation.

"We had established two things: first, it is impossible to develop protection measures if you do not understand what cybercrime is today; and second, data protection measures activate during an attack but culprits take a lot of preparatory actions. Sometimes those actions can be tracked months before the actual attack," Sachkov said.

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This inspired the company to develop high-grade threat intelligence and a system protecting online banking and state web-portals, as well as intrusion detection systems for finding targeted attacks before any damage is caused.

These measures are included in a package solution which will be exported by the newly established RITE agency (part of Rostec Corporation) under a deal signed on May 25.

Sachkov said the number of cyberattacks is growing worldwide and attributed 99 percent of them to money-oriented crime. Cyberterrorism and state espionage get 0.5 percent apiece though the Cold War did not put an end to countries' spying on each other, according to the specialist.

"Russia is properly protected from cyberattacks. But one must not underestimate the threats. If you hear someone speaking of a 100-percent protection, it is a lie," Sachkov concluded.

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Moscow has been groundlessly accused of hacking the 2016 US election as well as the upcoming September parliamentary elections in Germany (which are yet to take place). At the same time, mainstream media are silent about Russia's own exposure to massive cyberattacks which have targeted banks and government institutions, including the Foreign Ministry.

The number of cyberattacks on Russian servers tripled in 2016, according to President Vladimir Putin.

The CIPR is the first IT conference in Russia which provides a platform for dialogue between industry and defense sector, IT professionals, and venture investors. It takes place in the innovation-oriented town of Innopolis in the Republic of Tatarstan and is supported by Rostec, a Russian corporation established in 2007 to facilitate the development, production and export of high-tech industrial products designed for civilian and military applications. It comprises more than 700 organizations.

© Photo : CIPR press serviceIlya Sachkov
Ilya Sachkov - Sputnik International
Ilya Sachkov
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