Russia arrests its star cybersecurity mogul for treason
One of Russia’s largest cybersecurity companies, Group-IB, was founded in Russia, but is now officially headquartered in Singapore. It is a solution provider designed to detect and prevent cyber attacks and online fraud. The company also specializes in high-profile online investigation and intellectual property protection services. Group-IB’s threat intelligence and attribution system is rated as one of the best-in-class systems by Gartner, Forrester and IDC, while its threat hunting framework is recognized as one of the leaders in network detection and response.
Group-IB’s technology leadership is built on the company’s 18 years of hands-on experience in global cybercrime investigations and 70,000 hours of cybersecurity incident response accumulated in one of the largest investigation labs and 24/7 centers, providing rapid response to cyber incidents. the response to. Group-IB is also INTERPOL, Europol, and recommended by the OSCE as a cybersecurity solution provider.
Yesterday, 35-year-old Group-IB founder and CEO Ilya Sachkov was detained in Moscow. Russia has accused Sachkov of treason for sharing data with foreign intelligence agencies. If found guilty, the Group-IB founder could face up to 20 years in prison.
Russian law enforcement agencies raided the offices of cybersecurity firm Group-IB yesterday, detaining its founder and CEO Sachkov for two months on charges of treason.
The raid, which was first reported by Russian news outlet RTVI, took place on Wednesday, September 29. RTVI reporters approached the armed men in front of the Group-IB Moscow building, who were told to come back the next day.
RTVI reporters went to the Group-IB offices in Moscow on Wednesday night to report a passenger car and a minivan with tinted windows at the entrance to the building.
“A plainclothes man was dragging things from his office to a bus, and at the entrance of the building, two armed men in cartoon-colored tactical uniforms and masks on their faces greeted reporters. They told reporters they would not be Entry is permitted and there will be no comment on what is happening in the office,” according to RTVI.
“Reporters? Sorry, we won’t let you in,” one of them explained politely. “They’re making a movie. Please come tomorrow morning.”
Group-IB confirmed the raid in a statement but did not comment on the arrest of its CEO. “Law enforcement officers left Group-IB’s offices that night,” the company said. Group-IB’s communications team said the reason was unclear, but wanted to reassure customers in other countries that their data was safe.
Group-IB’s decentralized infrastructure allows us to keep customer data safe, maintain business operations and work without interruption in our offices in Russia and around the world. – Group-IB Communication Team
will be detained for two months, someone will take over
In 2016, Sachikov was named to Forbes’ list of the world’s smartest entrepreneurs under 30. Bauman is an associate professor at the Department of Information Security of Moscow State Technical University and a member of the Committee of Experts of the State Duma and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Earlier today, Russian news outlet BFM, citing a spokesman for the Moscow Lefortovo court, confirmed Sachkov’s arrest.
The Group-IB CEO was charged with treason under Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code and was detained for two months until November 28, 2021, according to Moscow court officials.
Russian news agency TASS reported that the treason charges were related to Group-IB sharing data with foreign intelligence agencies, but Sachkov has denied transferring the intelligence data to foreign special services.
Group-IB, on the other hand, confirmed the arrest in a press release following the article’s publication, expressed confidence in its CEO’s innocence, and announced that the company’s CTO, Dmitry Volkov (Dmitry Volkov) will take over the leadership role in the near future.
One of the star-level figures of Russian network security
According to Russian media reports, the Group-IB CEO has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin three times, and participated in meetings between Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and IT representatives, which can be described as a real cybersecurity star.
Group-IB is one of the largest cybersecurity companies in Russia. Founded in Russia but now officially headquartered in Singapore, the company has often cooperated with Europol and Interpol on investigations that have led to the arrest of multiple cybercriminal gangs, such as malware gangs and email scammers.
In a 2020 Bloomberg special issue, Sachkov has publicly stated that Russia does not take hackers seriously, which is why he moved the company to Singapore to keep the company independent. Group-IB has already attracted some major clients far from home, one of the most notable being Barclays. In Russia, its clients include financial giants such as Sberbank and Alfa-Bank, as well as the defense company Rostec. Earlier this year, Sachkov told Forbes that Russia’s Group-IB was preparing for an IPO on a foreign exchange exchange.
In 2019, a U.S. court charged Group-IB analyst Nikita Kislitsin with receiving and attempting to sell data stolen from U.S. firm Formspring. The allegations relate to Kislitsin’s conduct before he joined the company.
In July, Group-IB announced that it had helped Interpol investigate a Moroccan hacker suspected of attacking French telecommunications companies, banks and multinationals. Last year, it assisted in a case that led to the arrest of three men in Nigeria for allegedly hacking as many as 50,000 companies and government organizations.
Just earlier this month, Group-IB celebrated its 18th anniversary with subsidiaries around the world.
At present, key information about the Sachkov case has been collected.
On September 28, the “Operational Event” was held at Group-IB Moscow headquarters. The company’s news service itself confirmed this fact, but said they had no information on why.
Group-IB said the company was operating normally and its executives and lawyers were trying to clarify the situation.
On the morning of September 29, the Lefortovo court in Moscow arrested Group-IB CEO Ilya Sachkov on suspicion of treason (article 275 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which means up to 20 years in prison).
The case file against Sachkov is classified. According to law enforcement sources, the investigation alleges that the businessman transmitted data that constituted state secrets in the area of cybersecurity to foreign intelligence agencies, and that the Secret Service of multiple countries may be the entrepreneur’s “employer.”
The FSB’s military counterintelligence unit was involved in the case, according to a source at the agency.
Another source in the security forces said the entrepreneur pleaded not guilty to treason and cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies.
According to available information, Sachkov is now being held in a temporary detention center in Petrovka, where he is being investigated, and he will be sent to the Lefortovo pretrial detention center at a later date.
Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was aware of the arrest of Group-IB’s founder, but had no details. According to him, the case has nothing to do with the country’s investment climate, and the Kremlin is not concerned that other IT companies will stop cooperating with government agencies.
Business ombudsman and Growth Party chairman Boris Titov has demanded that the investigation “explain” issues related to the Sachkov case. Otherwise, he believes, “the IT sector and its investment attractiveness will take a serious hit.”
at Moscow State Technical University. Bauman, who teaches at Sachkov, said his arrest had nothing to do with university activities. The University Press Office stressed that he was not engaged in any “scientific activity” at the educational institution.
About Ilya Sachkov
Ilya Sachkov was born in Moscow in 1986.
In 2003, he founded Group-IB, one of the leading providers of cybersecurity solutions. Soon, the company started working with big clients, including foreign clients. Especially since she has been working with Microsoft since 2007. However, Sachkov did not register his company as Information Security Group LLC until 2008, becoming general manager. In the same year, he also worked for a time as an information security manager at the Russian telecom operator “Arktel”.
In 2009, Sachkov graduated with honors from the Faculty of Information and Control Systems of Moscow State Technical University.
In 2010, Sachkov successfully attracted private investors to join his company (Alexander Chachava, co-owner of the antivirus software company Leta), so Group-IB opened branches in Singapore and the United States.
In 2016, Forbes included Sachikov on its list of the most promising entrepreneurs under 30 in the enterprise technology category.
Since 2017, Sachkov has been an associate professor at the Department of Information Security at Moscow State Technical University.
In 2019, he received the “Big Business” award in the nomination “Innovative Breakthrough” (the award was established with the support of the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs of the President of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economic Development).
In the fall of 2019, Sachkov was taken to police after an accident with a taxi driver near the Four Seasons Hotel in central Moscow. According to police, the entrepreneur asked one of the drivers to leave immediately, and after being refused he used the mechanical sprayer “Blow”. Group-IB then explained its behavior.
In July 2020, Sachkov became one of the co-chairs of the Growth Party (chaired by Boris Titov). He is also a member of the federal political committee of this political organization. He did not participate in the 2021 elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
He is a member of the Duma, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council of Europe and the OSCE Committee of Experts.
In 2019, Group-IB’s parent company structure was registered in Singapore as Group-IB Private Limited. Its ownership structure has not been disclosed. As of September 2021, according to SPARK-Interfax, Sachkov is the CEO of the company’s main structure in Russia – Aibi Service Group LLC, which includes several limited liability companies, of which the largest by revenue in 2020 is LLC Aybi Group (384 million rubles – 34 million yuan) and OOO Aybi TDS Group (257 million rubles – 22.8 million yuan). In April 2021, Sachkov announced that Group-IB planned to list on the stock exchange.
According to the company, its products are sold in more than 60 countries around the world and in cooperation with the Russian Secret Service, Interpol and Europol. It makes products for monitoring cyber threats, preventing cyber fraud, anti-piracy, and more.
As of September 2021, Group-IB has offices in Moscow, Innopolis (Republic of Tatarstan), Singapore, Amsterdam and Dubai, with a total of more than 550 employees.