The arrest of a Russian security researcher for alleged treason has had a chilling effect on co-operation between East and West on cybercrime investigations, according to reports.
Several experts from private firms and a US official told Reuters that the shutters appear to have come down following the arrest of the head of Kaspersky Lab’s Computer Incidents Investigation Team, Ruslan Stoyanov.
Some local media reports have claimed the arrest of Stoyanov, a former FSB intelligence officer; Sergei Mikhailov, a current FSB officer; and hacker Dmitry Dokuchayev, are linked to the dossier put together by a former British spy claiming the Kremlin has compromising material on US president Donald Trump.
There are rumours the murder of former KGB general Oleg Erovinkin might also be linked.
Co-operation between cybersecurity experts and even law enforcement in Russia and the West had been improving, with both sides keenly aware that anything involving classified information and possible state sponsored activity is off limits, the newswire claimed.
But the arrest of Stoyanov has now apparently undermined that informal relationship, with Russian experts understandably reluctant to share any info with their Western counterparts and some US firms curtailing their own outreach on the understanding the Russians would no longer welcome it, the report claimed.
One source told the newswire a friend working at a security vendor in Russia will no longer talk shop to him because "he has real reasons to be worried.”
When contacted by Infosecurity, Kaspersky Lab did not have anything further to add.
However, a spokesperson said that according to the agency in charge, the arrest of Stoyanov is not related to his work with the firm.
“We will continue actively cooperate with the international community of security experts and government law enforcement agencies around the world,” the statement continued. “Addressing cybercrime effectively is impossible without collaboration between companies working in computer security and law enforcement.”