THE Russian hacker who heads up the Evil Corp group thought to be behind the Garmin cyberattack is a playboy who drives a personalised Lamborghini and owns a tiger.
Maksim Yakubets, 33, is said to be the head of the cybercriminal group who targeted Garmin devices and demanded $10million to restore their operation.
Yakubets is said to have run the operation since May 2009 from a number of cafes in Moscow.
It’s alleged he employed dozens of people to steal money from victims in 43 countries using computer viruses that are designed to only target victims outside Russia.
Using the name Aqua, the hacker and his group are accused of stealing at least $100million.
Yakubets, a Russian national originally from Ukraine, is still at large, as is his administrator Igor Turashev, 38.
Yakubets is known to be a playboy and owns a fleet of flash cars, including a customised Lamborghini with a number plate that reads ‘thief’ in Russian.
He is known to have splashed out on a pet tiger as well as lion cubs.
In Moscow he is described as being “untouchable,” according to reports, where he regularly films himself performing ‘doughnuts’ around police in one of his fleet of supercars.
Yakubets also likes to live the high life and is thought to have splurged $250,000 on his wedding to Alyona Benderskaya, a glamorous businesswoman, in summer 2017.
Benderskaya is thought to own a chain of Moscow stores selling Italian luxury clothing called Plein Sport and graduated from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow in 2014.
She is thought to be Yakubets’ second wife.
Her father is a former officer with a special-forces unit of the FSB, Eduard Bendersky, but there is speculation that some of his spy work for the organisation also rubbed off on his daughter.
Benderskaya is also the founder of several companies called Vympel-Aktiv and Vympel-Protekt which are linked to the FSB’s Special Purpose Centre, known for counterterrorism operations and “foreign sabotage operations,” according to RadioFreeEurope.
The Garmin location devices had been down for four days after the cyberattack but are now up and running again although it is not known if the ransom was met.
A cause is yet to be confirmed by Garmin but ZDNet reports several employees claim it is a ransomware attack known as WastedLocker.
The FBI placed a $5m bounty on Yakubets in December 2019 for information leading to his capture.
It is the largest reward being offered for an alleged criminal connected to cybercrime.
In December 2019, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Evil Corp after it caused more than $100m in financial damages in the US banking system.
As a result, if Garmin – a company valued at £18billion – paid the ransom, it could potentially be found to be breaking United States sanctions.
US treasury officials also claim Yakubets provided “direct assistance to the Russian government” by getting confidential documents for the FSB security agency.
He was also said to be part of a scheme in which Russian intelligence agencies recruit criminals to hack national security targets.