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Son of computer security expert kidnapped, ransom demanded

Son of computer security expert kidnapped, ransom demanded

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Here’s a couple of short, interesting articles.  The 20-year old son of the founder of security software company Kaspersy (Yevgeny Kaspersky) was kidnapped last week and his kidnappers asked for a ransom of over $4 million. 

Kaspersky's Son 'Kidnapped'
22 April 2011
The Moscow Times

Ivan Kaspersky, the 20-year-old son of computer guru Yevgeny Kaspersky, with the criminals demanding a ransom of 3 million euros ($4.3 million), Lifenews.ru said Thursday, without citing any sources.

Law enforcement agencies issued no official statement on the matter, and the elder Kaspersky refused to confirm or deny the report, Interfax said. His company, leading anti-virus software maker Kaspersky Lab, said Thursday that it was looking into the story.

Ivan Kaspersky was kidnapped early Tuesday when walking through a factory area in Moscow's northwest on the way from home to work, Lifenews.ru said.

The younger Kaspersky works at the Moscow-based software firm InfoWatch, owned by his mother Natalya, Kaspersky Lab's co-founder. He is also a student at the computational mathematics and cybernetics department of Moscow State University.

The alleged criminals could have obtained information on Ivan Kaspersky's residence from his page on social network Vkontakte.ru, where he wrote the full address of the apartment he had lived in since 1991, Marker.ru said.

Privacy settings on the page were changed Thursday, with access to the information closed to unauthorized users.

Lifenews.ru said Ivan Kaspersky actually moved to a new apartment a month before the kidnapping. It remained unclear whether he provided the new address on his Vkontakte page.

An unidentified law enforcement agency source confirmed to Interfax on Thursday that police and the secret services are looking for Ivan Kaspersky, but did not elaborate.

Forbes Russia estimated the wealth of Yevgeny Kaspersky earlier this month at $800 million.

Source: The Moscow Times

As bad as this looks, Ivan Kaspersky was returned.  By my reading of this, it doesn’t look like an spam operation taking revenge but rather some people who needed the money decided to kidnap somebody rich… at least, that’s the way it looks.

Kidnap of software mogul’s son conceived to pay loans
Published: 25 April, 2011, 16:01

Russian police disclose the details about kidnappers of the son of Evgeny Kaspersky, founder the world’s fourth-largest antivirus software vendor, who was abducted last week and released on Sunday.

­The young man was snatched by five suspects, three of whom proved to be members of one family – an elderly couple and their 30-year old son, aided by two younger friends.

A 61-year-old Muscovite, who has a history of past convictions, and his 64-year-old wife allegedly committed the crime in an attempt to pay off loans, an unnamed source in the Moscow police told Interfax.

The alleged kidnappers gathered the necessary information about the younger Kaspersky from the internet. Among other things, they found out that he studied at an ordinary Moscow university and had no bodyguards.

“While preparing for their crime, the detainees established where Ivan Kaspersky worked and snatched him not far from his office in one of Moscow’s industrial areas,” Interfax quoted the source as saying.

The kidnappers made Ivan get into their car and put a woolen hat over his head, so that his eyes were completely covered. After having sufficiently covered their tracks, the suspects brought the young man to their dacha in the Moscow Region, locked him in a bathhouse and demanded he call his parents for a ransom.

“At this point, the anti-kidnapping group of the [Moscow Criminal Investigation Department] and the FSB joined the search. Using specialized equipment, they established the approximate place from where the call was made and started the operational work,” police said.

When the house where Ivan Kaspersky had been kept was established, the kidnappers were tricked into leaving the house and seized.

“The kidnappers’ Lexus RX300 and Mercedes were stopped by traffic police at one of the check points under the guise of routine document inspection, and then Special Forces intervened,” police said. “The son of the organizer attempted to resist, but was quickly neutralized.”

Another member of the criminal group who stayed in the house to look after Ivan was detained shortly after, while Ivan himself was released.

“Members of police who were involved in the operation were surprised how blunt and stupid those who committed this crime were. Now they face lengthy terms in jail,” the police source added.

According to police, the operation was being prepared in strict secrecy, as media were seriously obstructing police from their work by some publications and “could provoke criminals for inadequate actions” that could jeopardize the life of the hostage.

On Thursday, Russian mass media reported that 20-year-old Ivan Kaspersky had been kidnapped on April 19 in Moscow on his way to work. The kidnappers demanded a 3-million-euro ransom for his release. The young man was released on Sunday in a bloodless operation with no ransom paid, as reported by Russian police. He feels well and has now been reunited with his family.

Source: Russia Today

Several weeks ago, another security blogger Dancho Danchev vanished and there was speculation that something bad happened to him (i.e., a cybercrime ring brought harm to him in retaliation for writing about their activities).  He later re-emerged unharmed. 

Us cyber security types often think that we might suffer harm for doing what we do and that we are targets for crime organizations.  Perhaps we have all been watching a few too many movies where the investigative journalist disappears mysteriously… and that we are all overestimating our own importance.

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  • I am nowhere near an expert on organised crime, nor do I know the details of the kidnapping of Mr Kaspersky junior, but I agree that it's unlikely that this is some spammers (cyber criminals) taking revenge. Unless it's some cyber criminal who got bored with staying more or less under the radar and decided to commit a more high profile crime by kidnapping the son of someone with apparently close links to the Kremlin.

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