Sacramento, CA — A Kremlin-backed computer hacker group got a surprise this week after attempting to break into a Sacramento-area Best Buy. The Russian “Kulakov Brigade” (Кулаковская бригада, Kulakovskaya Brigada) attempted to seize control of the entire Geek Squad support network only to greeted by what security experts call “a reverse white-hat attack” set up in advance by the technology giant retailer.
Instead of gaining access to Best Buy’s network, each Kulakov Brigade hacker was charged a “courtesy fee” of $49.95 and also gained access to “special, pre-release Best Buy offers.”
Sheldon Hadron, Director of Security Services for Best Buy’s Geek Squad, said how many hackers were infected with the offer is unclear. Still, he said it was designed to impact the hackers and their extended families.
“It’s not good business to be punitive,” commented Mr. Hadron during a telephone interview. “And every experience is a chance to make someone a Best Buy customer.”
The details are slim on the counterattack, but according to Professor James Badwater of the University of Chicago’s Badwater Institute of Security and Transient Cosmetics, it’s a clever way to defend against invaders.
“The reason you don’t hear about our cyber abilities is the same reason we don’t talk about them. They’re very aggressive. Not perfect, but certainly effective,” said Professor Badwater speaking from his office. For example, a reverse white hat attack lures an attacker in, giving them a false sense of security. And then. WHAMO. They’re attacked. In this case, Best Buy extended some valuable services to them.”
Best Buy Headquarters says that at least one hacker has taken advantage of Geek Squad’s services.