According to Irina Wolf, the Russian Interior Ministry spokesperson, Russian Security Services officials have arrested nine hackers who are alleged to be members of a high-profile cybercrime group called Lurk. The state media news platform Tass reported that reason for their arrest is that the group has been stealing money from Russian banks since 2013 and so far it has managed to rake in more than a billion rubles (cumulatively $17million).
“By the beginning of 2017, it had been established other members of the organized group were also involved in illegal activities and suspected of involvement in hacker attacks,” said Wolf.
As per the information provided by Wolf, the hackers were arrested in January 2017, after a crackdown led by the FSB. The operation against Lurk gang was a nationwide crackdown in which every territory was involved including Moscow, Tver, Krasnodar, Sverdlovsk and St. Petersburg. Around 86 raids were carried out in 15 regions across Russia. The officials used battering rams to enter the properties of the suspects. Extensive searches were conducted at the homes of the suspects and the police and FSB gathered valuable evidence.
FSB official noted: “As a result of searches a large quantity of computer equipment was confiscated along with communications gear, bank cards in false names, and also financial documents and significant amounts of cash confirming the illegal nature of their activity.”
Kaspersky Lab’s head of computer investigation Ruslan Stoyanov assisted the officials in their crackdown. According to Stoyanov, Lurk was already identified as a significant threat to “organizations and users” by Kaspersky researchers and that it was about time law enforcement catches its members.
“Our company’s experts analyzed the malicious software and identified the hacker’s network of computers and servers. Armed with that knowledge the Russian police could identify suspects and gather evidence of the crimes that had been committed,” said Stoyanov.
As per the Interior Ministry, the hackers targeted critical infrastructure in Russia, which included military plants as well. It is worth noting that in May 2016, Russia carried out a similar operation against Lurk members and 50 individuals were arrested back then. Out of the 50 arrested individuals, 27 have been charged until now, and 19 of them are still awaiting trial.
Lurk is also the group’s computer Trojan that can steal login credentials including usernames and passwords and with the malware, the notorious hacker group attacked some of Russia’s largest and reliable financial entities.
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