Charges Announced in Massive Cyber Intrusion Case

US Said Poised To Indict Russians, Canadian Over Largest Ever Hackings

The U.S. Department of Justice said a grand jury in California has indicted Baratov and three others, two of them allegedly officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, for computer hacking, economic espionage and other criminal offences.

While the UDB's contents did not necessarily give everything required to access individual user accounts, it did give Belan and the two FSB agents information that could be used to locate and target specific accounts of interest.

The attack has been attributed to a move by the agents to access accounts of interest belonging to Russian and USA government officials, Russian journalists, employees of technology companies and workers at an significant Russian security company.

McCord also said that the massive hacking may have had some intelligence value, but the actions undertaken by the defendants lined their own pockets for private financial gain.

"As this indictment demonstrates, regardless of what methods are employed or where the criminal actors live, if you illegally target US citizens or American companies, you will be identified, pursued, and held to account wherever you are".

Particularly galling to US officials is that Dokuchaev and Sushchin worked for the FSB's Center 18 - a rough equivalent of the FBI's Cyber Division.

Prosecutors indicted two officers within Russia's FSB, the successor to the Soviet Union's KGB. "Russian Federation has always expressed interest... in cooperation in the field of countering cybercrime and ensuring cybersecurity, we believe that this is one of the priorities in our time", the presidential spokesman said.

In September past year, Yahoo revealed that in late 2014 an unnamed "state-sponsored actor" had accessed the account information of some approximately 500 million users including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

More than 500 million accounts may be affected.

Baratov was quiet except for "huge parties" he threw several times a year said Carter, adding that he moved in about two years ago. Just last week, a cache of stolen Central Intelligence Agency documents leaked by activist group WikiLeaks revealed espionage tactics that USA agents may have used to hack into numerous Silicon Valley consumer products, including the iPhone and Google's Android software. Prosecutors said they received no response to their requests to the Russian government to turn over Belan to USA authorities.

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The hackers then used the database to forge credentials, tricking Yahoo servers into recognizing them as an account holder who had essentially stayed logged in.

One of those other indicted for-hire hackers, Alexsey Belan, listed as one of the FBI's Cyber Most Wanted criminals, is said to still be in Russian Federation, after he was previously charged with hacking by United States authorities on two occasions in recent years.

Police arrested Baratov under the extradition act.

"The indictment unequivocally shows the attacks on Yahoo were state-sponsored", Chris Madsen, an assistant general counsel for security and law enforcement at Yahoo, said in a statement. We're committed to keeping our users and our platforms secure and will continue to engage with law enforcement to combat cybercrime. "We commend Yahoo and Google for their sustained and invaluable cooperation in the investigation aimed at obtaining justice for, and protecting the privacy of their users".

The indictment accuses Sushchin and Dokuchaev of disregarding an Interpol Red Notice for the detention of Belan, who was placed on the FBI's list of most wanted cyber criminals in 2013.

You can read the entire Department of Justice's announcement at the link below. Belan had been indicted in 2012 and 2013 for hacking e-commerce data and was arrested in Europe in June 2013.

Neighbours say they do not know Baratov well.

Alexander Glazastikov, a member of a hacking group that blackmailed top Russian officials after stealing personal details, said earlier this year that the group, known as Humpty Dumpty, cooperated with the FSB.

The hack resulted in a leak of thousands of emails and attachments from the DNC, published by WikiLeaks. He has been indicted in the US twice before, but has never stood trial.

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