ISSN 2330-717X

Russian Hackers Allegedly Tied To FSB And Hack Of US Democratic Party Handed Lengthy Prison Terms

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(RFE/RL) — A court in Russia has handed lengthy prison sentences to members of a hacker group whose leader claimed he was recruited by the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to hack into the servers of the U.S. Democratic Party.

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The Kirov district court in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on February 14 sentenced 21 members of the hacker group known as Lurk to prison terms of between five and 14 years. One suspect remains at large.

The leader of the group, Konstantin Kozlovsky, was handed the longest sentence of 14 years after the court found him guilty of organizing a criminal community, fraud, and illegal access to online data.

Investigators say the group used a computer virus also known as Lurk to steal about $15.6 million from Russian banks and financial institutions in 2015-16.

The probe against the group was launched in 2016 after investigators said the hackers tried to steal a large amount of money from Concord Catering, a company owned by Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

During the investigation Kozlovsky claimed he was recruited by the FSB in 2008 and carried out many online hacking activities on the FSB’s instructions.

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Among such activities, Kozlovsky cited hacking servers of the U.S. Democratic National Committee, the personal e-mail account of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other organizations and military entities in the United States.

In 2017, Kozlovsky published materials on Facebook related to his claims based on sources that confirmed his statements about his hacking activities under the FSB’s supervision. The account then became inaccessible.

The investigators rejected Kozlovsky’s claims, saying they had not been confirmed by experts.

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RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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