The Washington Post recently reported on the Russian Business Network, an Internet business based in St. Petersburg which has become a world hub for Web sites devoted to child pornography, spamming and identity theft. Cybercrime groups including those responsible for about half of last year's incidents of phishing are said to be operating from the company's computer network system.
"The company 'is literally a shelter for all illegal activities, be it child pornography, online scams, piracy or other illicit operations,' Symantec analysts wrote in a report. 'It is alleged that this organized cyber crime syndicate has strong links with the Russian criminal underground as well as the government, probably accomplished by bribing officials...' But Alexander Gostev, an analyst with Kaspersky Lab, a Russian antivirus and computer security firm, said the Russian Business Network has structured itself in ways that make prosecution difficult. 'They make money on the services they provide,' he said -- the illegal activities are all carried out by groups that buy hosting services... In addition, Gostev said, criminals using the Russian Business Network tend to target non-Russian companies and consumers rather than Russians, who might contact local authorities. 'In order to start an investigation, there should be a complaint from a victim. If your computer was infected, you should go to the police and write a complaint and then they can launch an investigation,' Gostev said. Now, he added, his company and the police both have information, but no victim has filed a complaint."
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