In the top ranks of the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals list, there is a for Dmitry Dokuchaev. The Russian hacker and alleged FSB agent is wanted by U.S. authorities for the Yahoo breach, but he is already in jail in his homeland for treason.
Dokuchaev and fellow FSB official Igor Sushchin are reportedly responsible for orchestrating high-profile cyber-attacks and hiring other black hat hackers like most-wanted Alexsey Belan.
His story is interesting to say the least, highlighted by the fact that he seems to have no options left. Both cybersecurity powers want him for different reasons, so let’s take a look at how it came to be that Dokuchaev is near the top of the FBI list.
‘Forb’ started his career with “Carding” a decade ago
Dmitry Dokuchaev has maintained only one alias throughout his hacking career: ‘Forb.’ Under that moniker, he is on record giving an interview to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti as far back as 2004.
Back then, his specialty was stealing credit card information and carrying out “hacking on request” attacks for clients who paid up front. ‘Forb’ said he could pocket between $5,000 and $30,000 per month from his criminal activities.
From his hometown of Yekaterinburg, where Russian authorities recently caught a YouTuber for playing Pokémon Go in a church, Dokuchaev openly inquired and bought skimmers and encoders, well-known devices used to commit credit card fraud.
The FSB turned Forb from cyber criminal to intelligence agent
‘Forb’ continued to focus on virtual money, advancing to more complex schemes and techniques that led him to get involved in the hacking of Aeroloft Airlines’ online payment system. The incident was big enough to get the attention of the FSB, who had allegedly been following his steps for some time already.
The Federal Security Service tried to prosecute Dokuchaev on counts of credit card fraud for his past schemes, but then offered him a deal to make it all go away, and that’s how he ended up working for the modern KGB. He complied, and he was assigned to the Service’s Center for Information Security, also known as Center 18.
It was there where he met Igor Sushchin, a fellow officer with which he would later conspire to continue his cybercriminal activities. Indeed, Forb’s life as a federal agent did not stop him from contributing and continuing his duties as editor of Hacker magazine until at least 2011.
Dokuchaev ended up in prison for double-crossing Russia
Precisely because Dokuchev refused to be a lamb for the Russian security forces, he pursued his own career on the side and took part in the biggest data breach in recorded history, which resulted in half a billion compromised Yahoo accounts.
This put him and others in the international spotlight following investigations, but prior to that, he had been involved in an online Viagra scheme, to which U.S. and Canadian authorities responded with heavy diplomatic pressure.
American and Canadian agencies exerted enough pressure on Forb to make him and a colleague reportedly pass on information about others involved in the pharmaceutical scam. Intelligence sources say he may or may not have collaborated further with the CIA in other instances.
The FSB found out and accused Dokuchaev and three others of treason, locking them up in December last year at the Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. The cyber criminals are awaiting trial and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the FBI issued an indictment against him, Belan, and Sushchin for the Yahoo hack just months ago. Dokuchaev in particular is considered a suspect in the Presidential Campaign leaks of the DNC among other political incidents.
It is unclear to this day if Dmitry Dokuchaev is guilty of the alleged crimes he committed against both the U.S. and Russia. The FBI offers no reward for him since they know exactly where he is being held, although he could help them catch his ex-associates.