USA charges Russian spies over Yahoo hack

USA charges Russian spies over Yahoo hack

USA charges Russian spies over Yahoo hack

Officials say this case is separate from that investigation, though one of the defendants in the Yahoo case, Belan, was among the Russians sanctioned previous year by the Obama administration.

The Justice Department said Baratov was arrested in Canada on Tuesday and that his case is now pending with Canadian authorities.

Kazakhstan on Thursday said that he had officially given up his citizenship in 2011.

In the legal field, from the viewpoint of global investigative measures, "it is hardly possible to do things by way of exchanging public statements" as certain worldwide procedures exist, the Kremlin spokesman said.

Around 500 million Yahoo users had their information accessed in the attack, which began in 2014, but continued until late past year.

In a Washington, D.C., press conference announcing the charges yesterday, McCord noted that Dokuchaev and Sushchin both worked for the FSB's Center for Information Security, also known as Center 18, part of the Russian agency that handles cybercrime investigations.

Among the 6,500 Yahoo users the FSB agents targeted with this scheme were targets that were "of predictable interest", including journalists, government officials in both the United States and Russia, and the staff of "a prominent Russian cybersecurity company".

Using information obtained from the Yahoo hacking, the two FSB officers later engaged the help of Baratov to gain unauthorized access to other accounts outside of Yahoo, the indictment stated.

Belan had previously been indicted in 2012 and 2013 and was named one of FBI's most wanted cyber-criminals in November 2013. The case, announced amid continued US intelligence agency skepticism of their Russian counterparts, comes as USA authorities investigate Russian interference through hacking in the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment identifies Dokuchaev and Sushchin as officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB.

"As we have said repeatedly, there can be absolutely no question of any official involvement by any Russian agency, including the FSB, in any illegal actions in cyberspace", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

U.S. authorities and cyber security specialists have been saying for years that the Kremlin employs criminal hackers, allowing the Russian government to advance its agenda while denying involvement.

Between them, the four men have been charged with over 47 counts of hacking and espionage-related offences, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and theft of trade secrets.

For example, investigators now say that the breach began with a spear-phishing attack on a "semi-privileged" user at Yahoo.

Yahoo said when it announced the then-unprecedented breach last September that it believed the attack was state-sponsored, and on Wednesday the company said the indictment "unequivocally shows" that to be the case.

"The involvement and direction of FSB officers with law enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more egregious", McCord said in a statement. The fact that the indictment ties together the FSB and criminals is a new development, he said.

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