Kaspersky Lab Executive Arrested For Treason
Jan 27, 2017 02:04 AM EST
At Kaspersky Lab, Russia's largest antivirus provider, a top investigator, has been arrested in an investigation carried out regarding treason. The move stunned security researchers as the crime carries heavy sentences if conviction ensues.
According to Kommersant reports on Wednesday, the head of the Kaspersky Lab's investigations unit, Ruslan Stoyanov, was arrested in December. The Russian paper added that the same probe also caused the arrest of a division head of FSB, the Russian intelligence service, Sergei Mikhailov.
Stoyanov of Kaspersky was majorly involved in the response and investigation of crimes related to hacking when, in 2012, he joined the Moscow-based AV company. The LinkedIn profile of the suspect provides evidence that he served in the cybercrime unit as a major in Russia's Ministry of Interior dating 2000 to 2006.
Company officials released a statement after the report in which they stated that "the case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab." They further added, "The employee, who is Head of the Computer Incidents Investigation Team, is under investigation for a period predating 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."
Stoyanov penned down three posts for Kaspersky Lab's Securelist blog in the past 15 months. The posts involved crime conducted within Russia which was financially motivated. The maximum penalty in Russia for treason is unclear.
Article 275 in the Russian criminal code saw the charges filed under. It is a very broad statute that declares individuals to be open to treason charges for providing assistance to an international organization, foreign state or any party considered hostile to the government.
The assistance can be technical, financial, advisory or otherwise. The news that Stoyanov was also a US intelligence officers' source who eventually concluded that the hacking of the 2016 US presidential election was Russian-based comes as a shock.
The specifics behind the investigation are not clear but they whatever they are, the result will definitely cause individuals in Russia and elsewhere to "self-censor potentially sensitive findings".