Justice Department files charges against Russian hackers following Yahoo email breaches

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Date: Thursday, March 16th, 2017, 05:56
Category: Hack, News, security

They found the people who hacked into more than half a billion Yahoo email accounts.

The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against two Russian spies and two hackers behind the infamous 2014 hacks, which have been identified as among the most significant digital security breaks in American history.

The four men together face 47 criminal charges, including conspiracy, computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department said in a news release.

The first, Karim Baratov, 22, a Canadian and Kazakh national and a resident of Canada, was arrested in Canada on Tuesday, said Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general for national security.

Charges have also been pressed against two Russian Federal Security Service agents. The two are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, a Russian national and resident, and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, a Russian national and resident.

The other defendant, identified as Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, 29, a Russian national and resident, was already among the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals according to officials.

During the news conference, McCord and other officials described a widespread conspiracy that allowed Russian spies to gather intelligence and the hackers to “line their pockets.”

U.S. officials did not detail everything the Russian spy service gleaned from its massive haul of email data, but the Justice Department news release noted that “some victim accounts were of predictable interest to the FSB.”

The stolen data included “personal accounts belonging to Russian journalists; Russian and U.S. government officials; employees of a prominent Russian cybersecurity company; and numerous employees of other providers whose networks the conspirators sought to exploit.”

Other compromised accounts belonged to “a Russian investment banking firm, a French transportation company, U.S. financial services and private equity firms, a Swiss bitcoin wallet and banking firm and a U.S. airline.”

Justice Department officials said the FSB officers facilitated Belan’s criminal activities by providing him with sensitive information that would have helped him avoid detection by U.S. and other law enforcement agencies outside Russia, including law enforcement techniques for identifying criminal hackers.

Belan’s hacks to the Yahoo accounts allowed him to steal credit card numbers as well as contact information from 30 million accounts for a spam campaign. He also earned commissions from fraudulently redirecting a subset of Yahoo’s search engine traffic, prosecutors alleged.

The two FSB officers worked in a section devoted to cyber security, McCord said.

“These are the very people that we are supposed to work with, cooperatively, in law enforcement channels.” McCord said.

The hacks, along with Yahoo’s much-criticized slow response and disclosure, forced the company to discount $350 million off the purchase price in selling Yahoo’s assets to Verizon.

Via NBC News

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