Was FSB Marketplace Takedown and Arrest of “Flint24” Punishment for Political Misstep?
Back in March, I pointed readers to a fascinating report by Gemini Advisory concerning the Russian Federal Security
Service (FSB) takedown of a top tier marketplace and the arrest of its administrators. At the time, they were confident that the marketplace was BuyBest, and that one of its administrators was Alexey Stroganov (aka “Flint24”). Stroganov’s arrest was a bit of a surprise, as he was thought to be well connected politically, and in any event, it is unusual for FSB to arrest Russian hackers if they are not targeting Russian citizens or entities.
Now Gemini has found what might be an explanation for why Stroganov was arrested and how he may have fallen from grace. In a new article on their blog, they provide a bio on Stroganov’s past criminal activities, his attempts to appear legitimate, his connections with a politician, and his association with a judo gym previously used by Putin. Out of all the activities Stroganov is known to have engaged in, they hypothesize that the association with the gym may have crossed some line and incurred Putin’s attention and punishment. While that seems a bit thin as a rationale for such stern measures, the fact that Stroganov was apparently arrested on his birthday does sound like someone very high up was sending a message.
Read more on GeminiAdvisory.io.