Yuri Chaika, the Attorney General of Russia, reported significant increases in cybercrimes in the state during 2017, which number grew six times as much for the last 3 years.
At the meeting devoted to cyber counterstrikes Chaika provided the following data: “For the period 2013-2016 the number of cybercrimes increased from 11,000 to 66,000. And in 2017 the growth is 26%. The official statistics say that for the first half of 2017 cybercrimes dealt unprecedented damage – more than $18 million. This dictates the need to improve the efficiency of law enforcement agencies countering such offences”.
He claims that “cyber fraud, information blockades, computer espionage get the widest spread”.
Russian Prosecutor General’s Office emphasizes another common problem, which lies in internet usage for extremism propaganda. For example, in 2016, two-thirds of extremist offenses and every 9th terrorist related crime were committed on the internet. While monitoring Russian and foreign social media sites, numerous text and video files were found to defend and promote terrorist and extremist communities. Such websites are blocked in accordance with the prosecutor’s request heading into the exchange with federal authorities, and the so called “extrajudicial procedures” are taken. These steps resulted in closure of more than 3,000 web pages within 3.5 years period, illicit materials deleted from over 50,000 Internet resources.
At the same time the Attorney General noted: “The prosecuting authorities apply to the Court in order to delete dangerous information, which, for example, demonstrate manufacture and usage of explosive devices and sabotage skills.”
Furthermore, according to his words, a great number of crimes committed using modern information technologies are connected with illicit drug trafficking. Many drug dealers turn to “contactless” sales, when a vendor uses a darknet market or a messenger to distribute drugs.
At the moment members of Russian Parliament (State Duma) are considering a bill prohibiting anonymous use of messengers. Users will be entitled to identify themselves by providing a subscriber number and a contact, meaning that the requirements for both mobile service and messengers will be the same. Yuri Chaika considers that this measure will have a positive impact in response to offences, including illicit drug trafficking.
Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are monitoring the situation in cyberspace, continuous professional development of employees, methodical support of their activities. Moreover a special unit is established in Russian prosecutor’s office with the aim to protect databases against cyberattacks, detect malware and eliminate threats to integrity, accessibility and invariability of stored information.
Attorney General encourages heavier penalties for cybercrime offenses. At the moment, financial cybercrimes are covered under the article 159.6 (Criminal Code of Russian Federation) “Fraud”, the penalty is from 3 to 5 years imprisonment and a fine up to $18,000. This crime is not considered to be dangerous and hackers are usually set free in a year and a half for good behavior. Taking into account the amount of stolen money, the penalty is considered to be inadequate. That is why a group of legal draftsmen offers to reclassify cybercrimes and regard them as “Theft” with the penalty from 5 to 10 years imprisonment.
But these are not the only troubles awaiting hackers in Russia. Security services are worried about hacking personal and business emails and services, DDoS attacks, which are not governed by the law at the present moment. Such actions might be regarded as “terrorist acts” or “diversions” in future, in case their targets are state’s institutions (airports, power stations, hospitals, etc.).
The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation has developed a special system countering cyberattacks – State system of detection, prevention and elimination of consequences of cyber-attacks. The main center of the system is already created and 10 federal structures are ordered to deploy department branches for incidents’ monitoring and connect them to the core. The system finCERT of the Central Bank Of Russia is already linked up and many state corporations (including “Rosatom” and “Rostec”) are likely to join this year. According to the program all federal authorities and infrastructures will be linked to the system by 2020.
Yuri Chaika also suggests obliging chiefs of credit institutions to inform legal enforces agencies about attacks on their network resources and imposing sanctions in case when banks fail to take appropriate measures to protect deposits.