How a lawyer in the US makes millions on Russian hackers
A well-known Russian-speaking lawyer in the US, Arkady Bukh, a friend of Tsarnaev’s lawyer, hires hackers from Russia and the CIS countries to protect large American companies. Many members of his team have just been released from prison, and some work while in prison.
Lenta.ru report found out why Wall Street businessmen entrust their security to criminals and why the lawyer needed Russian-speaking hackers.
Russian Saul Goodman
A native of Baku, Arkady Bukh moved to the United States at the beginning of the 1990s. He graduated from New York University Law School and was known as one of the most dexterous Russian-speaking lawyers. On YouTube you can still find videosin which the successful descendant of the mountain Jews promises to "win the case of any complexity" and gives advice on obtaining a residence permit.
Thanks to the sociable compatriots in the middle of 2000, Russian-speaking cybercriminals became customers of Buch. Bukh took on the most notorious cases and most often sought for his wards to significantly mitigate the sentence, despite the accusations of numerous hacks and millions of thefts.
But hackers didn’t bring him special fame at all, but terrorists. In 2013, he defended Azamat Tazhayakov, an accomplice who organized the explosions at the Boston Marathon of the Tsarnaev brothers, and also managed to noticeably soften his sentence.
In 2015, Buch decided that it was possible not only to defend hackers in court, but also to use their skills for legal purposes. He founded Cybersec, inviting former clients to work with 2 - Vladislav Khorokhorin and Igor Klopov. Both were once real stars of online crime, but still they were overshadowed by the figure of the third member of the team - the founder of the largest site for carders, Dmitry Naskovets.
Cybersec did not even have to spend money on advertising - in the offices in Manhattan and in Brooklyn immediately lined up a queue of potential customers. And with the start of the pre-election race and the subsequent hacking of the servers of the National Committee of the Democratic Party, the flow of people willing to check the vulnerability of their companies has increased several times.
The main marketing feature of the Buch company is cooperation with the most real criminals. The lawyer is confident that the so-called “white hats” (hackers who do not use the found vulnerabilities for hacking) are not able to understand how the criminal acts inside computer systems. But the famous hackers are well aware of the psychology of their own kind.
The American company with Russian roots is unique in its own way - usually offices that specialize in information security never hire black hats. Firstly, large clients do not want to risk their reputation, and secondly, there is no guarantee that the former kidnapper will not steal a large amount again.
However, according to a Cybersec expert, Americans are scared today. Almost every company has a gap in protection, and the reputation of Russian hackers does not alienate them - rather inspires confidence.
Buch gives preference to Russian hackers for one simple reason - in Russia and in the post-Soviet space they are well-taught to mathematics and computer science, but their salaries leave much to be desired. In addition, Russian authorities rarely detain hackers who do not attack large companies and government infrastructure.
Like any other company in the industry, Cybersec first offers to check the system for vulnerabilities and assess the level of risks. The client decides for himself how deeply the hackers will penetrate into his company. Ideally, experts suggest testing everything from corporate computers and wireless networks to employee gadgets. More often than not, the local security team hasn't been fixing old vulnerabilities or keeping track of updates for years.
Criminal new generation
One of the company's permanent consultants is former carder Sergey Pavlovich. A citizen of Belarus, he worked in a group under the leadership of American intelligence officer Albert Gonzalez, who stole information about 170 millions of credit cards.
The crime of “11 friends of Gonzalez” was recognized as the biggest identity theft in US history. Pavlovich spent 10 years in a Belarusian prison and is still wanted in the States. In conclusion, Carder wrote the book How to Steal a Million. Confession of a repentant carder "and joined the Buch team remotely.
He consults on technical methods of hacking plastic cards, and also talks about the behavior of hackers and victims. So, carders often have difficulty with the control question about the mother's maiden name. In this case, fraudsters call the victim and try to find out this information.
The aforementioned Vladislav Khorokhorin was also a carder in the past, and the American government hunted him for several years. A citizen of Russia, Ukraine and Israel, who had an extensive database of stolen credit cards, was involved in the theft of $ 9 million from the company in Atlanta.
He pierced in Monaco - the American special services intercepted him in France and brought him to the USA. To hire Bukh, Khorokhorin had to sell a house in Israel and a villa in France. In total, the lawyer received from him about 4 million euros and honestly tried to get the case closed, but eventually convinced Karder to make a deal with the investigation, reducing his time to 7 years.
Khorokhorin is now working straight from prison. According to him, the prisoners are allowed to use computers to view e-mail and read news, and no one checks the contents of the letters. A hacker is not too happy to work with Americans, but it is the customers from the United States who are most often unable to provide their companies with adequate protection, and therefore are willing to pay for the services of such unique specialists.
Outwardly, Belarusian Dmitry Naskovets is a typical “intellectual”. For many years he earned thousands of dollars by carding, created a whole community for hacking American banks.
A graduate of a banking college learned about how to get rich on "plunder of America" from a friend. Starting his criminal career in 2007, he soon moved with the girl to Prague. The abundance of money, in his words, “turned her into Paris Hilton” - she bought everything she wanted.
40 people came to the Prague apartment behind Naskovets, including Interpol, the FBI, the Czech police, translators, the press and “some morons with some printers”. For all the crimes, Carder was threatened with years of imprisonment 40, but Buch was able to knock off a sentence of up to 4,5 years. As in the case of other criminals, the investigation had very little evidence, so Naskovets made a deal and spent several years in the famous Federal prison in Manhattan.
After his release, Karder managed to avoid extradition to Belarus. And he continued to do what he loved, but for the benefit of Cybersec clients.
Hackers for hire
Services Naskovets and other hackers are extremely popular. Americans are endlessly frightened by the news of the hacking of the next "dummies", city hospitals and servers of the Democrats, and the Russian-speaking "white hats" easily find holes in any protection.
Most often, the client finds an office with good reviews and asks to “slightly hack” the security system or simply to look at it from the side.
According to test hack experts, bad news is waiting for almost every client. In the vast majority of systems, the software does not work correctly, the parameters are incorrectly set, or the security service simply stays idle.
The main consultant at Price Waterhouse, Fred Rick, notes that his team regularly checks various corporate networks, however, after receiving the results, customers are often horrified and break off any relationship. After the test break-ins, only 20% of companies actually make the necessary changes, and the rest only dismiss employees responsible for the safety.
Large test hack specialists, such as IBM Consulting and the same Price Waterhouse, usually request up to $ 75 thousands for a full list of vulnerabilities found. At Buch, the price of a comprehensive study sometimes reaches $ 200 thousand. Clients sometimes vainly hope that they will be able to close the gaps themselves. This gives rise to new and new hacks, and Russian hackers continue to “rob America”. Or go to Cybersec.
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