Russian spies among those facing US charges over Yahoo hack

Two agents of Russia's FSB spy agency and two "criminal hackers" were indicted Wednesday over a massive cyberattack affecting 500 million Yahoo users, the US Justice Department announced.

FSB officers Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin were named in the indictment.

Two hackers allegedly hired by the Russian government have indicted: Alexsey Belan from Russia, who is on the list of most-wanted cyber criminals, and Karim Baratov, who was born in Kazakhstan but has Canadian citizenship.

An arrest of a suspect in Canada will be made as early as Tuesday, although three others are now in Russian Federation, according to the source.

The indictment includes 47 counts of conspiracy to commit espionage, wire fraud, computer device fraud, and identity theft, among other crimes. A subsequent regulatory disclosure revealed the firm knew about the 2014 hack that year, but failed to inform users, investors or the public for almost two years.

The Justice Department and the FBI's field office in San Francisco have scheduled press conferences for Wednesday, CNN reports, though they have not said what they plan to discuss.

"Cybercrime poses a significant threat to our nation's security and prosperity, and this is one of the largest data breaches in history", said Sessions.

"The involvement and direction of FSB officers with law enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more egregious", McCord said.

Some of those hacked include Russian journalists, US and Russian government officials and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies, prosecutors said.

It is still unclear if a 2013 hack that resulted in the theft of more than one billion Yahoo accounts was related to the 2014 hack or carried out by the same or related individuals.

The charges arise from a compromise of Yahoo user accounts that began at least as early as 2014. Stolen was information that according to Yahoo may have included names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, scrambled passwords and security questions and answers.

The charges are not related to the hacking of Democratic emails that took place during the 2016 USA presidential election.

The hack, which the DOJ said was initiated in January 2014, affected at least 500 million Yahoo accounts.

This is the first time criminal charges have ever been issued against Russian government officials for a cyber attack.

  • Todd Kelly