Former member of Shaltay-Boltay revealed its business scheme
On the condition of anonymity, the former editor of the Shaltay-Boltay website has told where the scandalously notorious project had been getting information from and revealed some details of the criminal business organization.
The St. Petersburg news agency Fontanka has managed to interview one of the members of the hacker group, several members of which had been detained by FSB on charges of illegal access to computer information (part 3 of Art. 272 of the Russian Criminal Code). A few other members of Shaltay-Boltay, living abroad, have been declared wanted.
The outlet's interlocutor, who is also abroad, agreed to an interview on the indispensable condition that his name was kept secret.
According to him, members of Shaltay-Boltay received all information from Vladimir Anikeev (Lewis), who, as the CrimeRussia has previously reported, has pleaded guilty.
Hacking of officials and statesmen's e-mail and messengers would be mainly performed using phishing messages (type of electronic fraud through unsolicited mass emails forwarding to fake pages of famous brands and organizations, where the user is forced to provide its personal detials under various pretexts – Editor's note) or by guessing password.
As noted by Fontanka.ru's interlocutor, the members of Anonymous International themselves were not engaged in phishing, hiring third-party hackers on specialized forums for this purpose.
It is noteworthy that, according to the source, initially no one financed the project, but after the publication of the first resonant leaks and the emergence of vital interest in the group on part of the media, the project's promotion went as with a wave of a magic wand – the number of visitors and followers on Twitter was rapidly growing. Funding cam along with stakeholders' attempts to remove some publications from the site. Later, he notes, there was enough moneny to buy compromising materials and pay for the team's work.
Over time, there was more and more buyers. And even if the targets of blackmail did not buy back the incriminating evidence, interested structures did it for them.
In particular, he cited the example of selling an array of letters of former St. Petersburg Vice-Governor and Head of the Department of Capital Construction State Order of the Ministry of Defence, now Head of the Central Directorate for Railroad Repair (Russian Railways branch) Roman Filimonov.
Advertisment for the sale of Roman Filimonov's correspondence
Although, according to Fontanka, Filimonov himself refused to buy back the compromising material, the removal of information was paid. The source does not rule out that representatives of the Ministry of Defense are responsible for this.
Blackemail targets would be selected among those of interest to the general public – that is, potentially corrupt officials and deputies in the upper echelons, as well as businessmen involved in government contracts. At the same time the source notes, that in the case of Gabrielyanov's correspondence, it were the media tycoon's detractors who could have used Shaltay-Boltay, since his data set was sold for a suspiciously low amount. In some cases, as the interviewee notes, anonymous sources would provide compromising material absolutely for free.
However, despite the project's commercial success, Shaltay-Boltay's members did not carry luxurious life.
Both the purchase of ready-made information and hackers' work were costly; in some difficult cases, the intermediaries received more than the project participants from the sale of compromising materials. Therefore, although receiving some pretty sweet cash, Shaltay-Boltay's participants (who often had to pay for flights and housing rental), did not become millionaires.
Let us recall that members of the Shaltay-Boltay hacker group, namely group's leader Vladimir Anikeev (Lewis) and his partners Konstantin Teplyakov (Martovsky Zayats) and Aleksandr Filinov (Shlyapnik) were arrested after hacking the accounts of influential businessmen.
Later it was revealed that Lewis began actively cooperating with the investigation and gave evidence against the suspects on charges of treason – the ISC FSB officers Sergey Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev. However, according to several unrelated sources, the criminal case of Anonymous International has nothing to do with the charges against Head of 2nd Department of the FSB Information Security Center Sergey Mikhailov and his subordinate Dmitry Dokuchaev.
Evidence of Solntsevskie leaders’ acquaintance with State Duma deputy and Hero of Russia Vladimir Shamanov and Lokomotiv trainer Yury Syomin was photos of them together, obtained by Spanish investigators from the smartphone of one of the gang leaders Arnold Spivakovsky (Tamm), who was arrested in the Costa del Sol last year in the framework of the police operation dubbed Oligarch.