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Russian hacker who once tormented state officials says he's starting his own cybersecurity consultancy

Vladimir Anikeev, the former leader of the hacktivist group “Anonymous International” (better known in Russia as “Shaltai Boltai” or “Humpty Dumpty”), has announced that he will form his own cybersecurity consultancy. He told the magazine RBC that he’s even considering keeping the “Shaltai Boltai / Anonymous International” brand name.

Anikeev went free from prison in August 2018 after serving two years for the felony crime of unauthorized data access. He spent less than two years behind bars thanks to Russia's new incarceration rules that weigh days spent in pretrial detention as 1.5 days in a standard prison.

Yury Namestnikov, Kaspersky Lab’s head of global research and analysis team, told RBC that former hackers often have problems transitioning to cybersecurity companies because the industry places “critical importance on reputation.”

Incidentally, Anikeev may have helped damage Kaspersky Lab’s reputation in Russia when he reportedly informed on Ruslan Stoyanov, the company’s former computer incidents investigation team leader, in late 2016. Stoyanov is now on trial for treason for allegedly passing secret FSB intelligence to an intermediary who handed the data over to the FBI. In October 2018, he was hospitalized after suffering a pulmonary embolism.