But the Russians are taking no chances. The government is tracking down hackers, prosecuting them, and putting them in jail. Russian jails are very unpleasant places to be. Very, very unpleasant. Recently, three Russian hackers were convicted and sentenced to 8 years in jail for a rather common Internet scam. These guys had tried to blackmail British gambling sites. This sort of thing involves threatening to shut down the sites with an overwhelming attack of phony data (generated by thousands of other peoples PCs, secretly taken over by the hackers). This DOS (Denial of Service) attack puts the target sites out of business until the attackers stop, or the defending hosting service (that maintains the server computers) figures out a way to stop the DOS operation (there are many different ways to launch a DOS attack, each one requiring a different kind of defense.) These blackmail operations can be very lucrative, but they also expose the hackers to greater chances of getting caught. These guys got caught, and now they are going to hurt real bad. Russia expects this kind of sentence to send a message. Most Russian hackers will be more careful, but many may just move to other countries, where the local authorities have not yet turned so mean against hackers trying to make a living.
In Russia, Internet crime, committed by Russian hacking gangs, is becoming a major problem for Russian companies. For over a decade, Russia has tolerated criminal gangs that ran scams via the Internet. But in the last few years, the Internet gangsters have become much more skillful, and have been making big money. But now some of them have gone too far. Recently, a hacker crew broke into a network run by the Russian Academy of Sciences, and were detected as they were trying to make off with over $100 million worth of research data. It's not certain that the hackers were Russian, and many people suspect they were from China or the United States. While the U.S. gets hit the most by these hacker attacks, it's still recognized that the best hacker talent is still in the United States.