From Russia…With Love? Part 2
Cybercriminals benefit from the general anonymity that the internet provides for most illicit activity. When a country like Russia knowingly harbors and occasionally co-opts the capabilities of cybercriminals, the task of international prosecution becomes significantly more complex. James Lewis of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) states that the only hard and fast requirements for Russia-based cybercriminals is that they do not ever work against their country and businesses. This includes Cyrillic-speaking targets in general, regardless of location. He also states these criminals are clear to target and steal from Americans and the American government, as long as they “share the wealth with the local FSB.. . . And if they ask [for] a favor, do it.” This has created an ecosystem where cybercriminals now act as a proxy force for Russian state interests with the Russian government turning a blind eye to any cybercriminal groups abiding by these guidelines. If these basic stipulations are followed, at present it is almost guaranteed that the Russian government will turn a blind eye to any cybercriminal operating within its sovereignty.