Threat Management

Debate: Identifying culprits behind Koobface disrupts the gang’s activity



Daniel Wood lead associate, senior cyber security engineer, Phase One Consulting Group

Russia has been known to be a haven for hackers for the past decade or more. However, things have changed. With President Dmitri Medvedev in office, the Russia's law enforcement response toward cyber crimes and the criminals behind them have been bolstered. On top of this, Russia and The Commonwealth of Independent States, an association of nation-states with a vested interest in Russia and the region, have banded together and are working toward a strategic partnership in combating cyber crime. Russia is spearheading this movement with coordination by Rashid Nurgaliyev, the minister of the Russian Ministry of the Interior and Cyber Crime Prevention Department.

Due to these circumstances, I believe that the [five people from St. Petersburg] identified as members of “Ali Baba & 4” will be pursued by  Russia. With authorities investigating matters, I believe these criminals will find it difficult if not impossible to continue exploiting innocent victims and remain free for very long.


Roel Schouwenberg, senior researcher, Kaspersky Lab

Almost daily I come across data that leads to the (probable) identity of a cyber criminal. Sadly, the majority of them will never see the inside of a court house, let alone a prison. It's nearly impossible to avoid being extremely frustrated about this. However, publishing said data is the last thing on my mind.

First of all, I may be ruining an ongoing law enforcement investigation. Traditional (drug trafficking) investigations can take years. Why would cyber criminal investigations be that much different? It's never the place of someone outside of law enforcement to decide an investigation is taking too long and spill the beans.

Ultimately, outing cyber criminals only helps them. It gives them time to wipe evidence, go into hiding and/or rethink their strategies. I'm not even touching on how the evidence may not hold up in court or may be plain wrong. Outing criminals hasn't worked in the real world. It won't work in the virtual world either.

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