Hackers get burned in deal with Russian spy agency

The Associated Press reports: For several years a group of hackers have been posting letters and documents stolen from senior Russian officials with impunity. And then the nation’s spy agency tracked them down and offered them a deal.

A member of the Shaltai Boltai (Humpty Dumpty) group said in an interview broadcast Thursday that the hackers accepted the offer from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the top KGB successor agency: show their spoils before publishing in exchange for protection.

But somehow the things went wrong for the group, and its leader and two other men have ended up behind bars.

Alexander Glazastikov, who spoke to the independent Dozhd TV from Tallinn, Estonia, where he’s seeking political asylum, said his group had no connection to the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. Former President Barack Obama’s administration had accused Russia of launching the hacking campaign to help Republican Donald Trump win, accusations that the Kremlin has denied.

“Our group has never attacked targets outside Russia,” Glazastikov told Dozhd. “We weren’t interested in the Democrats or the Republicans.”

He didn’t say if the FSB officers who approached the group were those who were arrested in December on charges of spying for the United States. The arrests reported by Russian media outlets fueled speculation that the officers could have been connected to hacking the Democrats. [Continue reading…]

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