Russian Business Network Deemed Cybercrime Risk

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Security experts warn that the St. Petersburg-based Russian Business Network has been cited as one of the world's largest perpetrators of websites for child pornography, spam and identity theft. 

Russian authorities have been slow to act in shutting down the hosting company, the security experts added.

Cupertino, Calif-based security company Symantec said the Russian Business Network is responsible for hosting websites that carry out a major portion of the world's cybercrime and profiteering.

Symantec said fake commerce and banking sites hosted by the Russian Business Network enable cybercriminals to obtain financial data such as passwords and account numbers, and account for about half of the "phishing" that occurred worldwide in 2007.

"The company is literally a shelter for all illegal activities, be it child pornography, online scams, piracy or other illicit operations," Symantec analysts wrote in a report. "It is alleged that this organized cybercrime syndicate has strong links with the Russian criminal underground, as well as the government, probably accomplished by bribing officials."

According to Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign, one of the world's largest Internet security companies, an assembly of phishers known as the Rock Group used the Russian Business Network to steal about $150 million from bank accounts in 2007.

Russian Business Network reportedly specializes in bulletproof hosting, which makes the websites accessible on the Internet, despite law enforcement officials' efforts to shut them down.

Though there are thousands of websites that bear the Russian Business Network name on registration records, the company is unchartered, has no official website of its own and has no legal identity, computer security companies said.