The Russian Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are reported to have jointly detected and closed down three major foreign agent networks operating in the country using spyware systems run from abroad.
Although the full details of the investigation have not been disclosed, the attacks are reported to have focused on the websites of large Russian corporations and state agencies as well as stealing of personal data. Russian law-enforcement agencies are currently continuing their investigation to identify those responsible for the attacks.
An official spokesperson of the Federal Security Service told SCMagazineUK.com that as a result of several months monitoring and investigation, the Russian security service was able to close down the operation and prevent further activity by the networks. This was claimed to have helped prevent exfiltration of some two million pages of private information.
Igor Sheremet, chairman of the Russian state Military Industrial Commission for communications, intelligence, electronic warfare and information warfare told reporters that in recent years attacks by hackers have become more sophisticated. He added that since 2010 the volume of virus-infested software and technology coming into Russia from abroad has increased significantly.
According to Sheremet, last year the Russian secret service identified about 40 cases of deliberate insertion of ‘defects' in software and hardware of foreign origin, found using specialist testing laboratories.
Sheremet says that these terminal devices were sabotaged, with smartphones, tablet computers, personal computers and associated networking media sold in Russia tampered with specifically to steal data from their users.
The Russian Federal Security Service intends significantly strengthen the level of security of Russian cyberspace by 2020, to be achieved by establishing production of new electronic components based on ‘new physical principles and materials.'
These will be primarily be supplied to meet the requirements of state agencies, large state corporations, the country's energy and other critical infrastructure, which are seen as the targets most vulnerable to hacker attacks.
The official spokesperson for Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Russian Federal Security Service, says that the new technology components will be based on quantum computing and quantum communication technology designed by Russian academic Kamil Valiev back in the 1980s. These technologies were described as being characterised by ‘absolute reconnaissance protection and immunity to capture.'
Identification of the spyware networks is the second reported success by the Russian security services in recent weeks. A few weeks ago agents of the Russian Federal Security Service together with Kaspersky Lab, announced that they had detected computer malware which had affected some Russian and foreign telecommunication groups and energy companies, as well as the websites of some state agencies. Kaspersky Lab reported that the principle of the malware's operation was similar to Stuxnet, which affected the Iranian nuclear programme.