Interesting article

Tyler Durden camera_lumina at
Fri Jul 8 10:32:34 PDT 2005

That is interesting. One wonders if in certain circles of Russia people are 
much more careful with their data and encrypting it. Who knows? A country 
like that might evolve some fairly rigorous privacy procedures. Here in the 
US it's, "Our data is safe because people will go to jail if they hack it 
and sell it."


>From: Gabriel Rocha <gabe at>
>To: cypherpunks at
>Subject: Interesting article
>Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 12:22:27 -0400
>Don't know how many of you saw this...
>In the stolen-data trade, Moscow is the Wild East
>Tuesday, July 5, 2005 Updated at 8:40 AM EDT
> >From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
>MOSCOW b The most expensive wares in Moscow's software markets, the
>items that some Russians are calling a threat to their personal safety,
>aren't on public display.
>It takes less than 15 minutes to find them, however, at the teeming
>Gorbushka market, a jumble of kiosks selling DVDs, CD-ROMs and an array
>of gadgetry in an old factory west of downtown.
>One question -- Where can we buy databases of private information? --
>and the young man selling rip-off copies of Hollywood movies leaps to
>his feet. He leads the customers to another vendor, who wears a bull's
>head on his belt buckle. This second man listens to the request, opens
>his cellphone, and punches a speed-dial number.
>Moments later, a third vendor appears. He is jovial and blunt about his
>"What do you need?" he says. "We have everything."
>In Moscow these days, among people who deal in stolen information, the
>category of everything is surprisingly broad.
>This Gorbushka vendor offers a hard drive with cash transfer records
>from Russia's central bank for $1,500 (Canadian).
>The information was reportedly stolen by hackers earlier this year and
>purchased by companies looking for details about their competitors.
>Such information, the vendor admits, is fairly specialized. A more
>popular item is tax records, including home addresses and declared
>incomes. The vendor asks $215.
>Russians routinely lie about their earnings to avoid taxes; nonetheless,
>an increasing number of criminals are relying on pirated tax information
>to help them choose wealthy targets.
>When gunmen broke into the gated home of Mikhail Pogosyan, head of
>Russian aerospace giant Sukhoi, in a brazen robbery last week, the
>businessman immediately blamed the proliferation of his personal details
>on the black market.
>"Before, robberies of such people happened very seldom, just by chance,"
>says a Sukhoi spokesman, Alexei Poveschenko. "Criminals preferred not to
>deal with VIPs, but now it's different. On every corner you can buy a
>database with all kinds of information: income, telephones, cars,
>residence registration."
>The trade shows no signs of slowing. It's part of a broader problem for
>Russia as the country lobbies for membership in the World Trade
>Organization by next year, because the international body wants Russia
>to crack down on its pirated movies, music and software.
>Local authorities have swept through markets such as Gorbushka and
>seized thousands of bootleg discs, but within hours the black markets
>resume business.
>At the Gorbushka kiosk, sales are so brisk that the vendor excuses
>himself to help other customers while the foreigner considers his
>options: $43 for a mobile phone company's list of subscribers? Or $100
>for a database of vehicles registered in the Moscow region?
>The vehicle database proves irresistible. It appears to contain names,
>birthdays, passport numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, descriptions
>of vehicles, and vehicle identification (VIN) numbers for every driver
>in Moscow.
>A check of The Globe and Mail's information shows that at least one part
>of the database is accurate. It's impossible to confirm the millions of
>other entries, although a few famous names stand out.
>An entry under the name Mikhail Khodorkovsky, with the same patronymic
>middle name and birthday as the oil tycoon, suggests that Russia's
>formerly richest man enjoyed zooming around on a grey 1999 Yamaha TW 125
>motorcycle, or a 2000 light-blue BMW F650, before he was thrown in jail.
>Under the name Yuri Luzhkov, with details that seem identical to those
>of Moscow's powerful mayor, the list of vehicles includes a black 1997
>Harley Davidson motorcycle and a green Gaz 69, a military jeep built in
>the 1960s.
>The Gorbushka vendor seems pleased with his sale, but puzzled. As his
>customers walk away, he says: "So tell me: Are you an American spy?"
>He gets a question in reply: "What? You'd sell your homeland so
>The vendor laughs, and returns to his work.

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