Detained Russian student allegedly helped Ukrainian hackers in cyberattacks

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A Russian technology student could be charged with treason for helping Ukrainian hackers carry out cyberattacks against Russia.

A resident of the Siberian city of Tomsk, Seymour Israfilov was detained by the Russian Security Services (FSB) in October, but little information was provided about him and his alleged crime at the time of his arrest.

The FSB only revealed that the suspect had “pro-Ukrainian views” and had helped Ukrainian hacker groups “supported by the country’s law enforcement agencies” carry out cyberattacks against Russian information infrastructure.

This week, Russian media revealed his identity, claiming that an 18-year-old student at a radio electronics university in Tomsk had allegedly worked for a Ukrainian hacker group known as the Cyber ​​Anarchy Squad. He allegedly carried out cyberattacks on local authorities and universities.

The group did not directly confirm the attribution but commented on the article, claiming that the mentioned student “does more” than the majority of Russians.

“Follow his lead,” the pirates said. “Behind every (online) resource in Russia there is a person who is responsible for it and who supports it. Even the smallest and imperceptible intervention has an effect.”

According to video footage shared with Russian media, on the day of his arrest, Israfilov was accompanied by FSB agents on a plane and transported to a detention center in Moscow. His apartment was also searched and all his devices were inspected.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for treason.

Such arrests are common in Russia. In another case, in October, a Russian citizen from the Siberian city of Belovo was arrested for allegedly joining Ukrainian cyber forces to carry out cyberattacks against critical Russian infrastructure. The FSB detained him, forcibly throwing him to the ground in the street, handcuffing him and placing him in a car.

Last year, three residents of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don were sentenced to prison or fined for the realization distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against Russian sites.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk is a freelance journalist for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe, and the state of the Ukraine-Russia cyberwar. She was previously a tech journalist for Forbes Ukraine. His work has also been published in Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.

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