Russia Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Russia’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government publications, online articles and other public data sources.

Security and intelligence officials in Russia estimate that over $700 Million worth of crab is illegally fished and poached from its waters each year. Most of the boats that poach crab from Russian waters are registered in Cambodia or Sierra Leone with its crew being from Russia. Most of the illegally caught crab is transported to Japan and South Korea.

Fishermen in Alaska also report losing sales due to illegal fishing of crab. The trade group in the state reports that at least $560 Million was lost over the past decade due to illegal crab poachers undercutting their prices.

Source: Stephanie May Joyce, “Searching for the Russian Crab Mafia,” Bloomberg Businessweek, June 19, 2014.

Security agents with the Interior Ministry in Russia arrested a Moldovan woman who was attempting to sell 4 women in central Moscow. According to the police, the woman was selling the women for $2,865 (100,000 Russian Ruble) each.

The young women from Moldova who were rescued were between the ages of 18 and 20. They each answered advertisements posted online that were offering high-paying jobs which did not exist. Once the woman were lured, their passports were taken and they were forced into prostitution.

(See all human trafficking statistics here.)

Source:  “Moldovan Arrested for Trying to Sell Young Women into Prostitution,” Moscow Times, May 29, 2014.

According to the Interior Ministry of Russia, there were 66 cases of human trafficking resisted by the criminal justice system in 2013. Out of that total, 63 cases were for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

In addition to the human trafficking cases, security agencies in Russia saw nearly 3,500 sex related crimes across the country. These cases included prostitution, illegal production and distribution of porn, and child sexual abuse images.

Source:  “Set of measures needed to prevent human sex trafficking in Russia – Interior Minister,” Voice of Russia, March 28, 2014.


Criminal justice programs in Russia reported that sales of counterfeit whiskey in the country may have been worth $230 Million (8 Billion Rubles) in 2013.

Based on sales and import tracking data, the State Statistics Service in Russia reported that retailers sold 9.9 million more liters of whiskey than officially imported. Officials believe that this figure represents the number of counterfeit whiskey bottles sold in the country.

In 2012, an estimated 7.8 million liters of fake whiskey was sold in Russia.

Media in Russia reported that whiskey is the most popular alcohol to be counterfeited in the country, followed by rum and tequila.

Source:  RIA Novosti, “Russians Drank 10M Liters of Counterfeit Whiskey in 2013,” Moscow Times, February 10, 2014.

In a report by NBC News, the annual turnover of cyber crime in Russia was estimated to be $2 Billion. The hackers based in Russia who contribute to this black market sell a wide range of computer viruses, malware, hacking tools and stolen credit card information on underground forums.

An example of this market was seen in the stolen credit cards from Target. The program that was used to hack into Target was traced back to a 17 year old hacker from St. Petersburg. The hacker allegedly sold the program on underground hacker sites for $2,000.  Security experts have been able to determine at least 40 different hackers used the program to hack into US retail stores.

Another example of this market is the spammers from Russia, who make up to $60 Million a year from their services.

(More prices for hacking services on the black market.)

Russia’s cyber crime economy is full of expert programmers and engineers. With its universities producing highly trained mathematicians and engineers, there is an abundant of talent in Russia. However, the legitimate economy is unable to absorb all these programmers, and those that do find employment are not highly paid. The salary for an average computer programmer in Russia is $24,000 a year.

Source:  Ben Plesser, “Skilled, Cheap Russian Hackers Power American Cybercrime,” NBC News, February 5, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Russia have shut down over 61,000 illegal casinos and gambling dens across the country since a gambling law took effect in 2009.

A total of $17.1 Million in fines have been levied to owners of underground gambling parlors between 2009 and 2013. During the enforcement raids, over 796,000 slot machines and other gambling machines were seized by police.

The 2009 gambling law allowed gambling to be permitted in 4 rural regions, thus creating a black market across the country for illegal casinos. Most of the illegal gambling houses operate under the cover of bingo halls or Internet clubs.

At the end of 2012, security officials estimated that there were 500,000 illegal gambling halls operating across the country.

(All illegal gambling news.)

Source:  “Russia Has Shut Down 61,000 Illegal Casinos Since Gambling Ban,” RIA Novosti, January 29, 2014.

According to Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, at least 200 Nigerian girls trafficking to Russia each month and forced to work in the prostitution industry.

(More human trafficking statistics.)

Source:  “Nigeria: Monthly 200 Nigerian Girls Are Trafficked to Russia for Prostitution – Envoy,” All Africa, November 21, 2013.

According to Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, at least 200 Nigerian girls trafficking to Russia each month and forced to work in the prostitution industry.

(More human trafficking statistics.)

Source:  “Nigeria: Monthly 200 Nigerian Girls Are Trafficked to Russia for Prostitution – Envoy,” All Africa, November 21, 2013.

It was previously reported that up to 42,000 people were dying in Russia each year due to consuming counterfeit alcohol and other illegally made alcohol.

After increase monitoring and enforcement by Russian security services, the number of deaths dropped to around 12,000 in 2010.

In an example of the smuggling, one man stopped in 2013 had 800 bottles of counterfeit vodka and 220 bottles of counterfeit cognac in his truck.

Source:  “Russian Tells Cops Huge Moonshine Trove For Personal Use,” RIA Novosti, November 7, 2013.

In 2013, the global costs associated with cybercrimes against consumers was reported to be $113 Billion, according to a report by computer security firm Symantec.

The average cost per victim of cybercrime was $298, a 50 percent increase from the average costs in 2012. Consumers in the United States had the highest costs associated with cybercrime, with $38 Billion, followed by China with $37 Billion.

According to the report, there are 378 million victims of cybercrimes each year. The highest number of cybercrime victims were found in Russia, China and South Africa.

Nearly half of the consumers surveyed in the report do not use security precausions for their mobile devices, such as passwords, security software or file backups.

57 percent of mobile device users (tablets, smartphones) are unaware that security solutions are available for mobile devices.

Source:  “2013 Norton Report,” Symantec. October 1, 2013.