So Long As They Don’t Go After Russia

After being Hacked, Colonial Pipeline is looking for a cyber security manager

Andrei Soldatov, a Russian Internet analyst and author of “The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries,” says an entire generation of Russia’s skilled hackers who grew up in the 1990s blamed the West for Russia’s hardships after the fall of the Soviet Union. This is one reason why they are happy to comply with Russia’s unwritten hacking rule of not targeting them, or any of the countries in the former Soviet Union. Smilyanets says these Russian hackers feel they have “nothing to worry about.” President Joe Biden is set to bring up Russia’s involvement with cybersabotage at his summit meeting this week with President Vladimir Putin.

After the recent cybersabotage of JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, the United States has stepped up its accusations that Russia is acting as a haven for cybercriminals, reports the Washington Post. Cybersecurity analysts and former hackers themselves say there is an unwritten rule that as long as hackers leave Russia alone, along with selected friendly countries, they could do as they wished without fear of arrest or extradition. Dmitry Smilyanets, a former Russia-based hacker who is now an intelligence analyst at Recorded Future, a cybersecurity company, says the attraction of cybercrime is now stronger than ever “because there is so much money to be made.” Money pulled him into hacking. “Even with this diploma, I couldn’t find a job,” he said, during a time when Russia was broke and offered few job opportunities after its collapse.

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