Russian Cyber Security Mogul's Son Kidnapped

Kaspersky Lab does not deny report, but asks media not to speculate on the case.

ByABC News
April 22, 2011, 10:49 AM

April 22, 2011 — -- The son of the founder of one of the world's largest cyber security firms, Russia's Kaspersky Lab, has been kidnapped, according to a Russian news report.

The original report, published by the Russian language website Life News, said the 20-year-old Moscow University student and son of multi-millionaire software developer Evgeny Kaspersky was abducted Tuesday and kidnappers were demanding 3 million Euros for his release.

In a statement on the company website, Kaspersky Lab did not deny reports of Ivan Kaspersky's kidnapping, but asked the media not to speculate on the case.

"Eugene [Evgeny] Kaspersky continues his day-to-day work at the company, and has stated that the unconfirmed information being spread at the moment is harmful for the company," the statement said.

Life News later reported the son had been released after the ransom was paid, but a spokesperson for Kaspersky Labs echoed their previous statement to ABC News, referring to that information as another unconfirmed report.

Representatives for the Moscow police were not immediately available for comment, but a spokesperson for Russia's Interior Minister told Russia's state news organization RIA Novosti said the ministry and Moscow police were "checking information" about the reported kidnapping.

An employee for Moscow University told Russia's Pravda news publication that investigators had already been to the school asking about the young Kaspersky, "but we do not know anything."

Forensic psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov, head of Russia's private Center for Legal and Psychological Assistance in Emergency Situations, said that kidnapping the offspring of Russia's new class of wealthy entrepreneurs had become a popular crime. "Every year 200-300 kids of rich parents get kidnapped in Russia," said Vinogradov, who added that while the practice is common in other countries too, "In Russia it is tougher, it is more brutal."

Last year Evgeny Kaspersky was awarded "CEO of the Year" by England's SC Magazine. The company operates in 100 countries for more than 300 million customers, according to the Kaspersky Lab website.

Kaspersky Lab was among several major cyber security companies to analyze Stuxnet, the revolutionary computer worm that allegedly attacked an Iranian nuclear facility in 2010. They heralded the worm as "a working -- and fearsome -- prototype of a cyber-weapon, that will lead to the creation of a new arms race in the world."

READ: Stuxnet, Could Cyber Weapon Be Turned on U.S.?

ABC News' Dragana Jovanovic and Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.