Security services sweeping purge underway: another FSB officer targeted

Security services sweeping purge underway: another FSB officer targeted
FSB Information Security Center

After Deputy Head of the FSB ISC colonel Sergey Mikhailov was arrested on suspicion of high treason, Second Deputy Head of the FSB ISC Dmitry Pravikov started to be under investigation.

Pravikov, who has headed the Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the FSB ISC since 2005, is suspected of bribe-taking, Kommersant reports citing a source close to the FSB.

According to one of IT senior executives, who commented on the situation, claims to the DIT Head have arisen due to the fact that he had signed an act on a meager sum.

Kommersant notes that Dmitry Pravikov is dubbed "an icon in information security''. He has Ph.D. in Engineering Science and is an associate professor of Information Security department in Bauman Moscow State Technical University. Pravikov has also written dozens of research papers, books and articles in the field of information security.

The FSB department he headed was one of the key ones of the ISC that fulfilled functions of the Department of expertise. The second crucial unit was one on the cybercrime counter. Until recently it was under the aegis of arrested Sergey Mikhailov.

Kommersant managed to contact Pravikov on the phone, but he refused to answer the questions. The press center of the FSB, ISC and FSB Bureau of Internal Affairs were also reluctant to give comments on the situation.

As you may remember, the sweeping purge in the ISC FSB commenced in late 2016, when Sergey Mikhailov, the Deputy Head of the FSB ISC, Dmitry Dokuchaev, the ISC employee, Ruslan Stoyanov, another ISC Deputy Head and head of Computer Incidents of Kaspersky Lab Investigation Department, and another unidentified defendant were arrested on suspicion within the investigation of the case under Art. 275 of the Criminal Code (High Treason). However it is reported that concerning Pravikov cases of high treason and corruption are not related.

Earlier, the arrests of ISC employees were considered as part of the high-profile case of Shaltay-Boltay hacker group, that had been trading compromising materials obtained from hacked e-mail accounts of officials and businessmen for several years. Gang founder Vladimir Anikeev (Lewis), as well as its members Konstantin Teplyakov (March Hare) and Alexander Filinov (Mad Hatter) were arrested between November and December of 2016 on suspicion of violation of Art. 272 of the Criminal Code (Illegal Access to Computer Information). Initially Sergey Mikhailov was considered to be the direct supervisor of Shaltay-Boltay, but later lawyer of one of the defendants in the case of high treason Ivan Pavlov, lawyer of Vladimir Anikeev Ruslan Koblev and a number of other sources denied the involvement of the arrested officers in the group activities.

Meanwhile, Kommersant experts believe that the situation in the ISC is linked to internal conflicts and a cleanup before appointing new people to key posts. The management in two major departments has already been replaced. According to the newspaper, Zhahongir Yuldashev was appointed as temporarily chief in charge of operations instead of Mikhailov, and Alexey Grachev – as the Interim Head of the DIT.

The investigation against Dmitry Pravikov may be the result of his recent conflict with the management following the reorganization of the FSB departments. After the reorganization the ISC was planned to be given to ‘Vosmyorka’ – FSB Information Protection and Special Communications Center, Kommersant writes.

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