The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents arrested for treason and illegal hacking reportedly passed confidential information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, sources close to the investigation told the news agency Interfax.
Sergei Mikhailov, a top cybersecurity specialist in the FSB, and his deputy Dmitry Dokuchaev are being accused of “breaking their oath and working with the CIA,” Interfax reported, citing an anonymous source that did not specify if Mikhailov and Dokuchaev worked directly with the CIA or through intermediaries.
“Four people have been arrested in this case, and eight individuals in total have been identified as accomplices. Only four suspects have been charged, and the others could get off as witnesses,” the source told Interfax.
Another source told the news agency that the treason charges and allegations of illegal hacking against Mikhailov and his accomplices are separate cases that do not intersect.
“Each of the suspects performed his own role. One person developed and deployed the cyberattacks, and another person collaborated with foreign intelligence agents. And these operations were parallel and, as a rule, they didn’t intersect,” the second source told Interfax, explaining that the group’s members were acquainted in the IT and information security sectors.
“And the the main link in this chain wasn’t the person with the most senior position and rank,” the source said.
Last week, the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that Sergei Mikhailov, Dmitry Dokuchaev (who worked in the same FSB unit as Mikhailov), Ruslan Stoyanov (the head of cybercrime investigations at Kaspersky Labs), and a fourth suspect had been arrested on suspicion of leaking secret information to the U.S. intelligence community.
According to Novaya Gazeta, the FSB believes Mikhailov tipped off U.S. officials to information about Vladimir Fomenko and his server rental company “King Servers,” which the American cybersecurity company ThreatConnect identified last September as “an information nexus” that was used by hackers suspected of working for Russian state security in cyberattacks.
The name of the fourth treason suspect is still unknown.
Dokuchaev has allegedly been revealed as an infamous Russian hacker. He reportedly worked as a hacker under the alias “Forb” until the FSB threatened to jail him, an unverified source told the RBC newspaper.