Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Russian security service members among those charged over Yahoo hack

Russian security service members among those charged over Yahoo hack

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted four people, two of whom are alleged to work for the Russian FSB intelligence agency, over the 2014 hack of Yahoo Inc.

The Justice Department said, "FSB officer defendants, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the us and elsewhere".

Though the Justice Department has previously charged Russian hackers with cybercrime, this is the first criminal case brought against Russian government officials. Or officials, as it were.

The charges include conspiracy, computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets and aggravated identity theft.

The FSB agents were accused of working "with co-conspirators to hack into computers of American companies providing email and internet-related services, to maintain unauthorized access to those computers and to steal information, including information about individual users and the private contents of their accounts".

A separate investigation is underway into alleged cyber-meddling by Russian agents in the United States presidential election. Belan was arrested in a European country in 2013, but escaped to Russian Federation before extradition.

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Two other hackers who were also indicted acted with the backing of Moscow, said Justice Dept. and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in Washington DC.

But the charges are not related to alleged Russian hacks created to influence the recent U.S. election, officials said, but was part of a broader effort to respond to a growing worldwide cyber-threat. The fact that the indictment ties together the FSB and criminals is a new development, he said. Dokuachev was arrested past December for treason, according to Interfax. Targets of the hack were Russian journalists, US and Russian government officials and employees of transportation and financial companies, among other industries.

Karim Baratov, who was born in Kazakhstan but has Canadian citizenship, was also named in the indictment.

Any extradition seems highly unlikely, however, as Russian Federation and the U.S.do not share a governing treaty, and it is doubtful Moscow would willfully hand over officials, or individuals accused of working on its behalf.

The US government has unsealed charges against two Russian spies and two criminal hackers for allegedly pilfering 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014.

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