Russian police last week arrested the co-founder of the country's largest online payments processor for allegedly orchestrating a cyberattack on his company's main business rival.
Pavel Vrublevsky, co-founder of ChronoPay, was arrested Thursday (June 23) for hiring a hacker to launch a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against rival processing company Assist, Brian Krebs wrote on his KrebsonSecurity blog.
Vrublevsky, 32, is also the co-owner of Rx-Promotion, a rogue online pharmacy well-known for processing payments for illegal scareware scammers, who attempt to trick victims into purchasing antivirus software they don't need.
Vrublevsky's suspicious business practices began to draw attention in the summer of 2010, when it was rumored that he orchestrated the hack-for-hire scheme just weeks before Russia's largest airline, Aeroflot, was to decide which company it would choose to process its payments.
(The hack crippled Assist, although neither ChronoPay nor Assist ended up winning the Aeroflot contract.)
Authorities closed in on Vrublevsky when Igor Artimovich — known by the hacker name "Engel" — was arrested and confessed to using his botnet to attack Assist on orders from the ChronoPay executive.
The long arm of the law drew even closer last week, when the FBI and law enforcement agencies in several countries seized more than 40 servers, personal computers and bank accounts thought to be used by international scareware gangs.
Like all good international crime stories, there's an extra twist to this one.
According to Krebs, Vrublevsky's ChronoPay co-founder (and notorious spam king) Igor Gusev, has made it a personal mission to highlight his former colleague's wrongdoing on redeye-blog.com after the Gusev's rogue online pharmacy, Spamit.com, was busted in late October.