Top Kaspersky Worker Arrested In Russia For Alleged Treason

Top Kaspersky Worker Arrested In Russia For Alleged Treason

A member of Kaspersky Lab’s cybercrime investigations team has been arrested in Russia on charges related to treason, according to reports.

According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, Ruslan Stoyanov was arrested in December 2016 along with Sergei Mikhailov, a senior Russian FSB intelligence officer. Both face charges of treason, the report said. Mikhailov was the deputy head of the Information Security Centre (CDC) of the FSB.

Kaspersky, Russia’s biggest cyber security firm, confirmed the arrest of Stoyanov but said that it related to events that took place before he joined the company and does not affect operations at Kaspersky.

“The case against the employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab,” the statement said. “The employee, who is Head of the Computer Incidents Investigation Team, is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab.”

The statement added that Kaspersky does not possess any details about the investigation.

Before joining Kaspersky, Stoyanov worked for the Russian Ministry of Interior's cybercrime unit, his LinkedIn profile said. He then held roles in the private sector before joining Kaspersky. According to Forbes, his job at Kaspersky involved assisting companies in recovering from a cyber attack.

The Forbes article also claims that he assisted Russian authorities with investigations into hacking groups, including the infamous Lurk gang.

Kommersant adds that Russian investigators are looking into possible violations of Article 275 of the Criminal Code, which covers espionage and the disclosure of state secrets, potentially to a foreign state.

According to AP, the arrest could represent a shift in relations between cybersecurity firms and intelligence agencies. “It destroys a system that has been 20 years in the making, the system of relations between intelligence agencies and companies like Kaspersky," investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov told The Associated Press.

"Intelligence agencies used to ask for Kaspersky's advice, and this is how informal ties were built. This romance is clearly over."

US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee as well as other attempts to influence the outcome of the recent presidential election.

Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump were briefed on the report, which stated that Russia handed its hacked information to WikiLeaks with the aim of swinging the election in Trump’s favor. Donald Trump subsequently beat Hillary Clinton to become President of the United States.

Source: Information Security Magazine