Kaspersky Lab employee reportedly arrested in Russia on treason charges

The head of the company's computer incidents investigation team was arrested in December, Russian media reports

A Kaspersky Lab cybercrime investigator is a suspect in treason probe.
Credit: Unsplash/JJ Ying

One of the leading cybercrime investigators at antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab was reportedly arrested in Russia as part of a probe into activities that could represent high treason.

According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, Ruslan Stoyanov, the head of the computer incidents investigation team at Kaspersky, was arrested in December as part of an investigation that also targeted Sergei Mikhailov, the deputy head of the Information Security Center at the FSB, Russia's internal security service.

Russian authorities are investigating Mikhailov in connection to the receipt of money from a foreign organization, an unnamed source close to the FSB reportedly told the newspaper.

“The case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab," a Kaspersky Lab representative said in an email statement. "The employee, who is Head of the Computer Incidents Investigation Team, is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab."

The company doesn't have details about the investigation, but the work of its computer incidents response team is unaffected by this incident, the representative said.

Kommersant reported that the probe is looking into possible violations of Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code. This article concerns high treason in the form of "espionage, disclosure of state secrets or any other assistance rendered to a foreign State, a foreign organisation, or their representatives in hostile activities to the detriment of the external security of the Russian Federation." Violations of this article carry prison sentences of 12 to 20 years.

According to the newspaper, until 2006 Stoyanov worked within Department K of the Russian police, a division that's often involved in cybercrime investigations.

"Addressing cybercrime effectively is impossible without collaboration between companies working in computer security and law enforcement," the Kaspersky Lab representative said. "This is why we, like any other major IT security vendor, actively cooperate with the international community of security experts and government law enforcement agencies around the world."

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