Jail cell with a person under arrest
Image: Ye Jinghan via Unsplash

Russian security service detains two hackers allegedly working for Ukraine

Russia's security service arrested two hackers suspected of carrying out cyberattacks on Russian networks on behalf of Ukraine.

Although two suspects were detained on the same day in different cities in Siberia — the large Russian province in Northern Asia — it is not clear if their cases are connected. If found guilty, they could potentially face up to 20 years in prison on charges of treason, Russian media reports.

On Tuesday, Russian broadcasters released a video in which Federal Security Service (FSB) officers knocked one of the suspects, a 36-year-old man, to the ground on the street, handcuffed him, and forcefully placed him in a car. They then conducted a search of his home and inspected his computer equipment.

FSB told Russian media that the suspect used an online messenger to join the Ukrainian cyber forces, which are "overseen by Ukrainian intelligence," to carry out cyberattacks on Russian critical infrastructure and infect its systems with malware.

The second suspect was a Russian tech student with "pro-Ukrainian views," who helped Ukrainian hacker groups “supported by the country's law enforcement” carry out cyberattacks on Russian information infrastructure, the FSB said.

According to video footage shared with Russian media, the second suspect was accompanied by FSB officers onto a plane and was transported to a detention center in Moscow. His apartment was also searched, and all his devices were inspected.

The arrests of so-called traitors are common in both Ukraine and Russia. Just last week, a 23-year-old citizen was detained by the FSB for allegedly working for Ukrainian security services and filming critical infrastructure facilities inside Russia. This kind of footage can help soldiers in guiding missile strikes.

In Ukraine, the Security Service (SBU) detained a man last week who had installed cameras on the streets of a Ukrainian city to gather intelligence on the movements and numbers of Ukrainian equipment and military personnel, and then reportedly sent this information to the FSB.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.