CyberNews Briefs

Lawmakers Probe Early Release of Top RU Cybercrook

Russian cybercriminal Aleksei Burkov, responsible for operating two of Russia’s most exclusive underground hacking forums, was released by American authorities after serving just a fraction of his sentence. Burkov was arrested in 2015 by Israeli authorities, and his subsequent extradition to the US was fought by Russia for four years. Russia went so far as to arrest an Israeli woman to force a prisoner swap, an effort that failed. Burkov was eventually sent to America where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Just a year later, the cybercriminal was released by American authorities and deported back to Russia. However, Republican lawmakers are now probing his early release, questioning why such an important figure in underground cybercrime was allowed to leave early.

Burkov admitted to running CardPlanet, a site that sold thousands of stolen credit card accounts, and DirectConnection, a forum for some of the world’s most notorious Russian hackers. Alongside credit card fraud, Burkov was also an administrator on other sites that harbored some nefarious cybercriminals. Burkov likely helped facilitate hundreds of thousands of cybercrimes during his time in the field. One observation is that the Kremlin became concerned that Burkov knew too much about Russian propensity to outsource criminal hacking activities, forcing his return.

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