Russian cyber crime – the life and times of BadB

Earlier this week, the NYTimes wrote an article on the life and times of BadB, Vladislav Horohorin, a Russian cyber criminal recently arrested while on a trip to France.

He is expected to appear soon before a French court that will decide on his potential extradition to the United States, where Mr. Horohorin could face up to 12 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 if he is convicted on charges of fraud and identity theft. For at least nine months, however, he lived openly in Moscow as one of the world’s most wanted computer criminals.

It appears that BadB operated openly in Russia despite the fact that he was indicted in the United States in November 2009. He was arrested only because he traveled to a country which respects the rule of law and does not have an adversarial relationship with the U.S.

Computer security researchers have raised a more sinister prospect: that criminal spamming gangs have been co-opted by the intelligence agencies in Russia, which provide cover for their activities in exchange for the criminals’ expertise or for allowing their networks of virus-infected computers to be used for political purposes — to crash dissident Web sites, perhaps.

Definitely worth reading the whole article.

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