The Russian authorities conducted an operation against bankware scammers, the criminals behind the Lurk malware. The organization has allegedly stolen billions of rubles. The crackdown was reported by Irina Volk, a representative of the Russian Interior Ministry. Nine arrests have been confirmed. It’s the second line of arrests against Lurk scammers.
Lurk and Russia
Russia is renowned for its software. It’s the country of Tetris and of Kaspersky. Sadly, the rodina is also the home of many hacking groups like the ones arrested now.
Russia is a very hospitable place for hackers. The reason is that the country is still relatively poor compared to Western Europe and many young men who have technical talent and skill tend to become cybercriminals.
There aren’t that many software engineer jobs to go around, and hacking westerners can be an easy way to make money.
Thus, malware like Lurk gets developed. The Russian government usually wouldn’t have that much against hacking, but the times are obviously changing. Since the country still has a decent electrical grid and Internet, many cybercriminals are based there. This will probably change if Putin continues to hunt down non-state hackers.
The Cyber Borders of Russia
The possible reason for the crackdowns may be that the users of the Lurk exploit kit started targeting Russian citizens, or more accurately, the wrong Russian citizens. The sums of money pointed out in the reports of the crackdown tend to put the price of the hacks at around 1 billion rubles (about $16 million.) Normal people tend to not have that much.
The hackers probably crossed people they shouldn’t have.
Internet freedom is declining all around the world. Turkey regularly blocks social media. Facebook continues to raise eyebrows with their fight against fake news, and their cooperation with China. The future seems bleak, as more an more countries try to limit the Web freedom of their citizens.