KEY POINTS

  • Kazakh man has been tagged as the man who hacked 3 US cybersecurity firms
  • Hiding behind the handle "Fxsmp," he has been identified as 37-year-old Andrey Turchin
  • Turchin became inactive in 2019, possibly keeping low profile upon learning that he's wanted in US

The culprit behind the “invisible god” series of data hacks was revealed to be a Kazakh man. According to reports, court documents pinpointed him as the mastermind behind a 44-country hacking spree. Some of his other hacking exploits were also revealed in the discovery.

According to MIT Technology Review, a 37-year-old man – identified as Andrey Turchin – made an estimated $1.5 million from stealing information from more than 300 companies and governments in 44 countries. He is the mastermind behind the notorious handle Fxmsp and is also responsible for the leaking of access and source codes from industry leaders in various cybersecurity companies. He has also claimed an ability to make a customer an “invisible god of networks” through his work. How he accomplished his massive scheme remains unknown.

Fxmsp first made himself known in 2016 through data breaches and a supposed collection of technical capabilities but had little business expertise. Within a year, he managed to claim open access to the corporate networks of various hotels and banks around the world.

He had since moved on to other sophisticated criminal enterprises, as per a Forbes report, managing to find access to networks by using remote desktops to scan the web for systems vulnerable to attacks. Cybersecurity company Group-IB exposed his actions, saying that most of the targets he went after had always been random.

Dmitry Volkov, CTO of the company, said that the hacker scanned a large range of IP addresses within different cities and countries, looking for open ports that are open to access and can be easily bypassed. He also used a popular software called Masscan among other scanners.

Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. said that Turchin probably had hinted that he is wanted in the country, the MIT report added. The U.S is working with European and Kazakh authorities in tracking his movement. It is a bit problematic, considering that Kazakhstan has no law that extradites its citizens for crimes committed against other countries. It is highly likely that he will be prosecuted locally.

Fxsmp hasn’t been active since 2019, after he was put in the crosshairs of the authorities for the $1 million breaches involving the top cybersecurity firms.

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