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Not even Putin could stop a dark web mastermind from ending up in prison

June 27, 2020

A Russian hacker was sentenced to nine years in prison by an American court on June 26. Hacker Aleksei Burkov was previously considered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to be of personal interest.

Exclusive cybercrime with a $ 5,000 premium membership

Burkov has been accused of managing a website called “Cardplanet” responsible for selling payment card information:

“Many of the card numbers offered for sale belonged to US citizens. The stolen credit card information sold on the Burkov website has resulted in more than 20 million illegal purchases with credit card accounts in the United States. “

Burkov also reportedly ran an exclusive club just for invitations to cybercriminals. where members could post stolen goods and illegal services. Payment of a $ 5,000 membership fee was used to filter to avoid government intervention:

“To obtain such membership in the Burkov Cybercrime Forum, prospects needed three existing members to guarantee their reputation with cybercriminals and provide a normally $ 5,000 monetary guarantee. These measures were designed to prevent that the police access the Burkov forum and to ensure that the members of the forum comply with the agreements made during the forum’s operations. “

High-risk negotiations: between Russia, Israel and the USA

Not even Putin could stop a dark web mastermind from ending up in prisonNot even Putin could stop a dark web mastermind from ending up in prison

Burkov was arrested in Israel in 2015. In October 2019, an Israeli-American woman named Naama Issachar was arrested at Moscow airport when she found a few grams of marijuana in her luggage. She was subsequently sentenced to seven and a half years.

According to the New York Times, there was talk of a possible negotiation exchange between senior Russian and Israeli officials. However, the Israeli Supreme Court had already decided to extradite Burkov to the United States and to leave the Prime Minister of Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, with few options. Finally, The exchange took place, but instead of handing over Burkov, Israel handed over the Alexanderhof in Jerusalem, this character formerly belonged to the Russian Empire.

Centralized virtual currencies

Burkov’s criminal company went into operation before Bitcoin (BTC) became popular. Originally, the first virtual currencies such as Liberty Reserve, WebMoney and even Western Union were used.

Philip Osborne, a former cybercrime investigator at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, confirmed to Cointelegraph that these payment methods were common in the early days of cybercrime. He also noted that the centralized nature of these payment mechanisms made the researchers’ work much easier.