Failed cybercrime investigations within the FBI, Russia and Ukraine

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Failed cybercrime investigations within the FBI, Russia and Ukraine

He considered the reports a few hours ago, when a Ukrainian surveillance team said it was tracking the tank and had intelligence that the suspect had recently been at home. None of this seemed credible.

Five people were detained in Ukraine that night, but were left empty-handed when Tank, who was accused by police of being in charge of the operation, was released. And none of the five people arrested in Ukraine have been detained for long.

Somehow, Operation Ukraine – a two-year international effort to catch the biggest cybercriminals on the FBI’s radar. Tank slipped under SBU surveillance, while other big players are increasingly avoiding the serious consequences of their crimes. Craig and his team were happy.

But if the situation in Ukraine was disappointing, things would be even worse in Russia, where the FBI had no one. Confidence between the Americans and the Russians has never been stronger. Earlier in the investigation, the Russians separated the FBI from Slovak identity.

“They try to get you off target,” Craig says. “But we know the game is what’s going on. We’re too lazy to send them anything, and even if you know something, you can put pressure on them to see it.” Try and see if they will cooperate, and when they – oh, no wonder.

A great mix of corruption, hostility and stoning left Operation Trident Violation without its main objectives.

Nevertheless, when the raids took place in Donetsk, the Americans hoped that they would receive a phone call from Russia about the FSB raid on the residence of Aqua, money launderer Maxim Yakubets. Instead, there was silence.

The operation was a success. Dozens of lower-level operators were arrested across Ukraine, the United States and the United Kingdom, including some of Tank’s personal friends who helped smuggle the stolen money out of England. But a mixture of corruption, hostility and stoning left Operation Trident Violation without its main objectives.

“It came on D-Day, and we were hungry,” says Craig. SBU tried to negotiate. [the Russians]. The FBI was making phone calls to the embassy in Moscow. It was complete silence. We ended the operation without FSB anyway. There was silence for months. nothing.

Well-connected criminals

Not everyone in SBU drives a BMW.

Following the raids, some Ukrainian officials, dissatisfied with corruption and leaks in the country’s security services, concluded that the Donetsk raid against Tank and Jaber Zeus staff in 2010 was carried out by Alexander Khodokovsky, a corrupt SBU officer. Failed because of signal.

At the time, Khodokowski was heading an SBU Swat unit in Donetsk, known as the Alpha Team. It was the same group that carried out the Trident violation. According to the former SBU officer, who spoke to MIT Technology Review anonymously, he also helped coordinate law enforcement agencies across the region, which led to the arrest of the suspects. Prepare to search or report advance to eliminate evidence.

When Russia and Ukraine went to war in 2014, Khodokowski refused. He became a leader in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, which NATO says receives financial and military aid from Moscow.

The problem was not just one corrupt officer. Following the raids, Ukrainian investigations and legal action against Tank and his crew continued. The former SBP official explained that he had been handled carefully to ensure he remained free.

The former official said: “Through his corrupt contacts with the SBU administration, Tank managed to get all the legal action taken against him by the SBU Donetsk Field Office instead of the SBU headquarters in Kiev, and eventually he The matter was closed there. ” The SBU, FBI, and FSB did not respond to requests for comment.

“It came on D-Day, and we were very hungry.”

Jim Craig

The emerging tank was deeply embroiled in controversy with Ukrainian government officials, including former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in 2014.

Yanukovych’s youngest son, Victor Jr., was the godfather of Tank’s daughter. Yanukovych Jr. died in 2015 when his Volkswagen Manion fell under ice on a lake in Russia, and his father is in exile after being convicted of treason by a Ukrainian court.

When Yanukovych fled the east, Tank moved west to Kiev, where he is believed to represent the former president’s interests with his personal business.

Explaining this, the SBU official said, “Through this association with the President’s family, Tank has been able to establish corrupt links with high-ranking Ukrainian government officials, including law enforcement agencies.”

Since Yanukovych’s ouster, Ukraine’s new leadership has taken a more decisive approach to the West.

“The reality is that corruption is a big challenge in preventing cybercrime, and it can be very high,” says PassWaters. “But after more than 10 years working with Ukrainians to combat cybercrime, I can say that a lot of good people in the trenches are quietly working on the right side of this fight. They are the key.”

Warm relations with Washington were a major catalyst for the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. When Kiev is trying to join NATO, one of the conditions for membership is the elimination of corruption. The country has recently cooperated with the United States in investigating cybercrime to an unimaginable level in 2010. But corruption is still rampant.

“In recent years, Ukraine as a whole has been more proactive in tackling cybercrime,” said the former SBU official. “But when we see that the perpetrators are really being punished, I would say that The situation has changed for the worse. Now, we often see public relations stunts that result in cybercriminals not shutting down their activities. Some tucked-out announcements, some searches, but then everyone involved. Releasing them and keeping them working is not the right way to deal with cybercrime.

And contacts with Tank’s power have not ended. Yanukovych belongs to a powerful family, which is itself independent of Russia.

An increasing threat

On June 23, FSB chief Alexander Bournekio was quoted as saying that his agency would work with Americans to track down criminal hackers. It didn’t take long for two special Russian names to come up.

Even after the 2010 raids, a large part of his business was wiped out, yet Bogachev remained a prominent cybercrime businessman. He started a new crime ring called Business Club. It soon became a strange place, stealing more than 100 million members, which was distributed among its members. The group had been hacking bank accounts for some time, with some reports about modern rents being leaked through a corrupt locker until 2013. Once again, Bogashev was at the center of the evolution of a new type of cybercrime.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Dutch cybersecurity firm Fox-IT, who were watching Bogshev’s malware closely, found that it was not just randomly attacking targets. The malware was quietly searching for information about military services, intelligence agencies, and police in countries including Georgia, Turkey, Syria, and Ukraine – geopolitical rivals from neighboring countries and Russia. It became clear that he was not only operating from within Russia, but that his malware was actually a victim of Moscow’s intelligence.


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