Thursday 16 March 2017

US Charges Two Russian Spies And Two Hackers Over Yahoo Data Breach


The US has announced charges against two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers over a massive Yahoo data breach that affected at least 1 billion user accounts.

The indictment, unveiled by the justice department on Wednesday, said that the hack targeted the email accounts of Russian journalists and opposition politicians; former government officials in neighboring countries; and several US government figures, including “cyber security, diplomatic, military and White House personnel”.

At a press conference in Washington, the acting assistant attorney general for national security, Mary McCord, said: “The department of justice is continuing to send a powerful message that we will not allow individuals, groups, nation-states, or a combination of them to compromise the privacy of our citizens, the economic interests of our companies or the security of our country.

The justice department has previously charged Russian hackers and hackers sponsored by the Chinese and Iranian governments, but Wednesday’s indictment marked the first criminal case for cybercrimes brought against Russian government officials.

It comes amid intense political controversy over Russian interference in the US election, including a data breach of the Democratic National Committee.

McCord declined to comment on whether there was a link between the Yahoo hack and Russia’s alleged attempts to sway the election in Donald Trump’s favour.

But the indictment provides the latest indication that the US is willing to retaliate against data thefts with foreign ties in a criminal forum.

The two Russian intelligence agents were identified as Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, both of whom work for the FSB, the Russian spy agency successor to the KGB.

Dokuchaev was described as an officer in the FSB Center for Information Security, known as “Center 18”, which is supposed to investigate hacking.

According to the Washington Post, which first reported news of the charges, he began working for the agency to avoid prosecution for credit card fraud.

Dokuchaev was one of two FSB agents arrested in December, according to Russian news agencies, and charged with treason over alleged cooperation with the CIA.

It was unclear at the time whether the arrests were linked to US election hacking, and details of what exactly the men were accused of have been scarce, with a series of contradictory insider leaks provided to various Russian outlets.



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