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Russian Hackers Indicted for Yahoo Breaches

17 March 2017

Two of the men are officers at Russia's secretive Federal Security Service and protected, directed, facilitated, and paid others to collect information through computer intrusions in the US and elsewhere, authorities said.

The FSB officers "directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions", acting United States assistant attorney-general Mary McCord told reporters.

This is the first time that the USA government has presented charges regarding cyber-attacks against Russian officials. Or officials, as it were.

The US Department of Justice is to bring charges against four defendants, including two Russian security services officers after a huge data breach at Yahoo.

The defendants targeted Yahoo accounts of Russian and USA government officials, including cyber security, diplomatic and military personnel, Russian journalists and employees of financial services and other commercial entities.

Alexsey Belan, who is on FBI's most wanted cyber criminals list, was named as one of the suspected hackers and was arrested in Europe in June 2013.

USA 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. Five months before then he was arrested in a European country, DOJ says, but "he was able to escape to Russian Federation before he could be extradited".

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The other alleged criminal hacker, Belan, has been charged twice before in the U.S. In all 500 million Yahoo accounts were stolen, and the accounts of at least 18 users of other email services were compromised.

Washington has not contacted Moscow over charges against the Russians, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday, citing a "highly placed" source in Moscow.

Belan was arrested in an European country in June 2013 but escaped to Russian Federation before he could be extradited to the United States, according to the Justice Department.

However, the officials said, they believe that such charges are useful for sending a message that adversaries face consequences for targeting USA companies for traditional spying or financial gain.

Baratov is citizen of Canada and was reportedly born in Kazakhstan.

The move comes following intense scrutiny surrounding the USA elections, which some believe had its results tampered with by Russian spies. Yahoo had previously accused "state-sponsored" hackers of carrying out the attack.

Russian Hackers Indicted for Yahoo Breaches