17-Year-Old Russian Lawyers Up After Being Falsely Accused of Developing Malware


Sergey Taraspov's VKontakte page

Last week, IT security firm IntelCrawler, erroneously named Sergey Taraspov, a 17-year-old Russian, of being the one who developed the BlackPOS malware, a threat used in the cyberattack against US retailer Target.

Later, the company made an update to its report, clarifying that Taraspov wasn’t the one who developed the malware, and that the true developer was one Rinat Shibayev.

However, IntelCrawler maintains that Taraspov has a role in this whole thing, namely that he’s responsible for providing technical support along with others.

Shibaev has admitted co-authoring the malware, but claims that it was never his intention to develop a malicious application. However, he says he’s aware that it can be used for criminal purposes.

Taraspov, on the other hand, is accusing the Russian media of spreading unverified information. He denies having anything to do with the malware, Russian publication TJournal reported.

He says he is from Novosibirsk and has lived there all his life. IntelCrawler noted in its report that he had roots in St. Petersburg.

According to Fox News, Taraspov has reached out to a lawyer.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Russian cybercrime investigation firm Group-IB noted that over 300 news agencies accused an innocent man of committing computer crimes based on “a rumor spread by a small company.”

Group-IB says the media’s inaccurate reports have turned the 17-year-old into a victim of online prosecution.

“Dissemination of such defamatory information can lead not only to persecution of a particular individual – as clearly seen in this case – but also to incitement of a cyber war between countries,” said Ilya Sachkov, CEO of Group-IB.

“I would want to remind that it is the prerogative of law enforcement agencies to find the person that has committed a crime. Moreover, the guilt of such person is proved in court. If a private company becomes aware of a crime, that company is expected to report such to law enforcement agencies, and not to the press.”

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