US Indicts Russian Spies For Masterminding Yahoo Hack
US Indicts Russian Spies For Masterminding Yahoo Hack
US Charges Russian Officials Over Hacks For the First Time
18 March, 2017, 01:08
In November or December of that year, according to the indictment, he copied and exported a backup of Yahoo's User Database.
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. Only one was arrested, a Canadian.
The other three suspects are supposedly in Russian Federation.
"The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI's point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters, is beyond the pale", the acting assistant attorney general, Mary B. McCord, said in a statement.
The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage, according to United States justice officials.
Besides orchestrating the breach, the indictment alleged that Yahoo accounts accessed without authorisation were used to launch a spam campaign. Yahoo's shares declined 0.2% to 46.28 in late afternoon trade on the stock market today.
A U.S. District Court endictment for four people accused of hacking Yahoo is seen against Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted posters. The missions also reaped information on a swath of global companies and their executives, including a US financial services company, an airline and private equity firms.
Yesterday, prosecutors announced two Russian intelligence officials and two criminal hackers have been indicted on charges related to the hack that began in 2014.
"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 media on Thursday. 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. That's because no one expects the Kremlin to play along with the US indictment.
By December 2014, Yahoo executives and lawyers knew hackers tied to a foreign government had gained access to some of its users' personal information, but didn't dig deeper into the incident, according to a report released earlier this month by the company's board. He has been charged twice previously for cyberattacks of technology companies.
Property records show that in 2015, Baratov and two other people bought a two storey house in an Ancaster subdivision for $642,500, taking out a mortgage of $514,000 that has not yet been paid off. The other was Dmitry Dokuchaev, described as a hacker for hire who was pressed into working for the FSB to avoid prosecution for bank-card fraud.
USA intelligence authorities have concluded that Russian intelligence agencies were behind hacking efforts of Democratic email accounts in last year's election. They employed the help of known cybercriminals Alexsey Belan of Russian Federation and Karim Baratov, a Canadian resident, to steal information from computers of American email service companies. Calls to his home weren't immediately returned. No other tech companies immediately responded to the Department of Justice's overtures. The Yahoo email accounts nearly certainly provided sensitive personal data to Russia's increasingly unpredictable spy agencies. The indictment says they accessed accounts of Russian journalists and politicians critical of the Russian government as well as USA government officials and even White House personnel.
Baratov was said to be heavily involved in targeting Russians for the FSB.
Hackers allegedly gained access to a European diplomat's account, and they targeted accounts of a former Minister of Economic Development in a country bordering Russian Federation (and his wife). "The Department of Justice is continuing to send a powerful message that we will not allow individuals, groups, nation states, or accommodation of them to compromise the privacy of our citizens, the economic interested of our companies, or the security of our country", she said. While Belan remains at large in Russia, Baratov was presented before a Canadian court on Wednesday, where he reportedly claimed that he intends to apply for bail, but that he needs to find legal counsel, Bloomberg reported.
The justice department has already stated that if Baratov is convicted, it plans to appropriate his grey Aston Martin DBS auto with a vanity plate reading "MR KARIM" and seize his PayPal account with the "Elite Space Corporation".
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