[ISN] Russian police bust 63-year-old computer hacker

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu May 24 2001 - 10:41:53 PDT

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    Thursday, May 24 10:26 PM SGT 
    MOSCOW, May 24 (AFP) 
    Russian police have dealt a serious blow to the popular image of
    computer hacking as a teenage pass-time by uncovering a ring of mature
    online fraudsters that even includes a 63-year-old, the interior
    ministry said Thursday.
    The well-organised fraudsters, who had already stolen 10,000 dollars
    and were planning to divert another 30,000 dollars, were "not teenage
    hackers, but serious professional criminals," said Alexander Solovyov
    of the ministry's "Department R" which is charged with fighting
    hi-tech crimes.
    The ringleader was a former policeman in his mid-40s and one of his
    henchmen was a 63-year-old retired computer programmer, according to
    After stealing 300 foreign credit cards, the hackers opened their own
    Internet store, to which they transferred money from the stolen cards
    under the guise of legitimate online transactions.
    Police arrested three out the group's five members after a tip-off
    from Cyberplat, Russia's main digital payment company, which had begun
    to suspect the online store's business operations, Solovyov said.
    Dmitry Chepugov, the head of Department R's Moscow office, admitted
    that the amount of money stolen was relatively low, but said this was
    because the arrests had been "a rare example of a successful police
    operation" to prevent online crimes.
    The hackers could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted under
    Russian law, Chepugov said.
    He said police estimates reckon computer theft in Moscow costs the
    state 12 to 15 million dollars a month.
    Department R opened 436 criminal cases in Russia in 2000, four times
    as many as in 1999, and the rate of hi-tech crimes tripled last year,
    with the annual number of cases rising as high as 20 times over the
    past three years.
    However, Russian legislation is completely unsuited to fighting
    computer-related crimes, and Department R's has scant resources
    compared to those of the hackers, Chepugov complained.
    Department R was founded in 1998 and its Moscow branch opened in
    September 2000, but Chepugov declined to tell journalists how many
    operatives it employed, adding that such information was a "state
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