Head of ′Humpty Dumpty′ Russian hacking ring jailed | News | DW | 06.07.2017
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Head of 'Humpty Dumpty' Russian hacking ring jailed

The leader of the Humpty Dumpty collective must serve two years in prison for illegally accessing data. The group was famous for humiliating figures close to the Kremlin.

The man at the center of an infamous ring of hackers that was allegedly double-crossed by disgraced members of the Russian security services was given a two year jail sentence on Thursday by a Moscow court.

Vladimir Anikeyev was named by prosecutors as the leader of the notorious Shaltai Boltai (Humpty Dumpty) collective, which made its name by hacking the email account and Twitter profile of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as well as illegally obtaining documents from the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Humpty Dumpty allegedly sold these documents to unknown parties for up to 2 million dollars, according to the Financial Times.

The group first made a name for itself in 2014, routinely embarrassing officials inside the Kremlin and senior businessmen by stealing their information and communications and leaking it online.

However, it wasn't until 2015 that the FSB declared war on the group. According to Humpty Dumpty member Alexander Glazastikov, who is seeking political asylum in Estonia, they finally went too far when they published a letter from the chief of the Defense Ministry's construction office, essentially mocking the department for its lax digital security.

'Playing with fire'

"We were playing with fire: The counterintelligence got very interested in us after that letter," Glazastikov told a Russian television station in February.

That is when things took an unexpected turn for the group. Glazastikov claims they were approached by some FSB agents who offered them protection as long as they ran their findings by the officials first.

A lawyer for Anikeyev has denied working with security services, according to the Financial Times.

Speaking with the Associated Press, Alexander Glazastikov did not confirm if his group was connected to two intelligence agents who were indicted on treason charges, but he did deny any involvement in tampering with the US presidential election in 2016.

"We did not have any interest in Western countries, the United States. No one except inside Russia."