FSB general about hackers and treason: ''It is enough to eliminate one character, another one substitutes it''

Aleksandr Mikhailov shared his opinion about the FSB Information Security Centre deputy head’s arrest and activity of Shaltai Boltai hacking group linked with Kazan

FSB general about hackers and treason: ''It is enough to eliminate one character, another one substitutes it'' Photo: ystav.com

The headline-making arrest of deputy head of FSB (Federal Security Service of Russia) Information Security Centre Sergey Mikhailov has many versions. The media already linked this event with the arrest of Kaspersky Laboratory worker Ruslan Stoyanov. Sergey Mikhailov is said to be linked with the activity of Shaltai Boltai hacking group whose head stated he lived in Kazan, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In the interview to Realnoe Vremya, former FSB General Mayor, director of the Government Information Department of the Russian Government Apparatus and namesake of the arrested state worker Aleksandr Mikhailov told whether that person sold classified information, about difficulties while arresting hackers, about Shaltai Boltai whose tracks lead to Kazan as well as protection of information base of FSB of the Russian Federation.

''FSB is a state body: some characters were arrested, taken to court and even shot many times''

Have you heard about deputy head of FSB Information Security Centre Sergey Mikhailov's arrest? How often does this happen?

I have heard that Mikhailov was arrested and that there were so many versions. That's it. FSB is a state body where ordinary people work. We saw that some characters were arrested, taken to court and even shot for some crimes towards the country and the service's interests.

Treason and implication in Shaltai Boltai hacking group is another of the versions.

These are just versions at the moment. We need to understand that, firstly, treason is the most popular crime among special service workers. Secondly, any police officer, in this case special service, overreacts to it.

What does treason mean?

Probably giving some classified information to outsiders who, consequently, can give it wherever they want or use it for the bad of state interests. I suppose when we speak about special service workers, the most probable versions, of course, are jobbing or corruption and information sale for rival, some bodies that need this information.

''We can doubt the presence of some groups as much as we can, but they do exist. They do their job actively: they also withdraw money from some cards and create viruses to hack sites, of course.'' Photo: tsargrad.tv

''If it is treason, the hearing is held behind closed doors''

Is Shaltai Boltai really horrifying as people say?

We deal with hackers who know not only how to hack sites but also can encrypt their own sites. We can doubt the presence of some groups as much as we can, but they do exist. They do their job actively: they also withdraw money from some cards and create viruses to hack sites, of course. I don't exclude that there are many of them because, generally speaking, today the Internet and everything linked with IT is interesting not only for the state. It is a kind of gymnastics for mind. We deal with programmers who create viruses that try introducing them into the network. Information Security Decree, which includes a lot of things of this kind, was adopted for a reason.

Is it correct to link the arrest of Kaspersky workers and FSB?

We don't have the information about the accusations, even in case of Mikhailov. Here we can say what we want on the basis of the name of his subdivision – FSB Information Security Centre. We need to understand the target of the crime. Without it, we will offer versions, which are likely to be wrong.

In other words, can we be mistaken that it is a case of treason?

If it is treason, the hearing is held behind closed doors. What is treason? When service and classified information is given to a rival.

Could he do that?

Potentially, he could. People of that level have access to classified information. Consequently, he can give this information. It is a version again. We can't say what he is accused of. As a rule, treason is a wide concept, for special services, it is a transmission of information.

''People of that level have access to classified information. Consequently, he can give this information. It is a version again. We can't say what he is accused of. As a rule, treason is a wide concept.'' Photo: gdb.rferl.org

''As a rule, we deal with different servers, it is the difficulty''

Do real arrests help at information war?

What does information war mean? Whom is it aimed at? It is one thing if it is aimed at Russia and us. It is another thing when it is designed for rival.

Mikhailov is supposed to have sold information to even CIA.

This is why it is classified! We should consider that western special services very actively exchange information between each other. Generally speaking, this information can be sold to everyone: to special services of Germany, Great Britain, etc. Anyway, they will be in one pot of war against Russia. This is why we can't say for sure whom he sold it to, it has no sense.

What is rival interested in?

Some weak links, codes, keys, passwords, of course. It all can be interesting to get access to classified information that is not in the global network. Neither the Ministry of Defence nor FSB has contact of date base with the external world via the Internet. They are in a local, closed mode. It is wrong to say that one can enter our internal bases. They have multistage protection stages and no direct contact with the external world, which is the most important thing. For this reason, a transmission of certain information that can't be found on the Internet is likely to be the case. Still, it is just a version!

Does opening of criminal cases help?

To the extent that we live a world of communicating vessels. It is enough to eliminate one character, another one substitutes it. The tfficiency of this kind of crime solution is the question. Every criminal thinks that it can happen to everyone but not him. These people master sophisticated methods and ways as technologies develop. But very technologies and hardware develop. In this case, FSB's data is not integrated with the Internet.

Anyway, is it efficient?

It is. As a rule, a hacker doesn't act on his own. It is a group of people – somebody writes programmes, somebody hacks. This is why crime solution is a detection of the whole chain of people implicated in it. Hacking network doesn't work directly from Russia – the chain goes through servers located in another part of the world almost always. As a rule, we deal with different servers, it is the difficulty.

By Damira Khairulina
Analytics