An alleged Russian hacker named Konstantin Kozlovsky, who is in prison in Russia for his reported involvement in the hacking theft of more than $50 million from various Russian bank accounts, claims that he was ordered by agents of the Russian FSB to hack the Democratic National Committee. In an interview with Russian television network RAIN, he claims that he left behind evidence to prove it.
According to McClatchy, Kozlovsky confessed during the interview to running a number of hacking operations under the direction of the FSB, which is the Russian successor agency to the KGB. Among other things, Kozlovsky claims that he developed viruses that were tested on Russian companies, then set loose on foreign corporations.
Kozlovsky initially confessed to hacking the DNC during an Aug. 15 court hearing during which he confessed to a number of other computer crimes. Since his confession was not easily verifiable, it did not garner significant media attention. But now, in the interview with RAIN, Kozlovsky has offered what he claims is proof that he was behind the hacking and that it was carried out on FSB orders. According to Kozlovsky, he feared that the FSB might one day turn on him, and so he planted a “poison pill” in a .dat file he left behind after the hack: his Russian passport number and the number of his visa to visit the Caribbean island of St. Martin.
Even with this new information, Kozlovsky’s allegation remains difficult to prove, since the DNC has refused to turn over the affected computers for forensic analysis. Instead, the DNC hired a private company called CrowdStrike to investigate the hack. CrowdStrike has claimed that they found evidence linking the hack to Russia but have not provided further details.
According to McClatchy, Kozlovsky claimed in the interview that he was under the control of Maj. Gen. Dmitry Dokuchayev of the FSB, who is wanted in the United States in connection with a number of other alleged cyber crimes. Dokuchayev was arrested by the Russian government in December 2016 and charged with treason for his alleged role in directing hackers who compromised the bank accounts and personal computers of prominent Russian officials.
Kozlovsky also claimed that he mainly worked from home, did not know anyone else involved in the operation, and that the hack of the DNC was part of a broader FSB-directed effort to compromise the computers of prominent international companies and governmental institutions.