MOSCOW — Aleksandr B. Vyarya thought his job was to defend people from cyberattacks until, he says, his government approached him with a request to do the opposite.
Mr. Vyarya, 33, a bearded, bespectacled computer programmer who thwarted hackers, said he was suddenly being asked to join a sweeping overhaul of the Russian military last year. Under a new doctrine, the nation’s generals were redefining war as more than a contest of steel and gunpowder, making cyberwarfare a central tenet in expanding the Kremlin’s interests.
“Sorry, I can’t,” Mr. Vyarya said he told an executive at a Russian military contracting firm who had offered him the hacking job. But Mr. Vyarya was worried about the consequences of his refusal, so he abruptly fled to Finland last year, he and his former employer said. It was a rare example of a Russian who sought asylum in the face of the country’s push to recruit hackers.
“This is against my principles — and illegal,” he said of the Russian military’s hacking effort.
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Featured image courtesy of AFP.