The Unites States has charged two hackers and two intelligence agents from Russia. The charges are for a criminal breach at Yahoo. About half a billion accounts were affected by this hack. This is the first case of its kind against the Russian government officers according to the Justice Department.
A mishmash of voracity and intelligence of the four men led to the hacking of email accounts of U.S and Russian government officials, employees of financial services, private businessmen and Russian journalists.
The offenders used a technique termed as ‘spear-phishing’ to deceive Yahoo users into thinking that the emails they were receiving were genuine. There are about 500 million accounts that the hackers cracked. Besides personal information they took credit card numbers and other financial data as a gift card, the prosecutors said.
Mary McCord, Acting Assistant Attorney General, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division said that the U.S. would not permit individuals, groups, nation-states or a combination of them to compromise the confidentiality of their citizens, the economic interests of the companies or the security of the country.
The case, publicized amidst sustained U.S. intelligence agency cynicism of their Russian equals, comes as U.S. authorities scrutinize Russian intrusion through hacking in the Presidential elections of 2016. Representatives said those inquiries were different.
A Kazakh national, also a Canadian national by the name Karim Baratov is taken into custody. U.S is still in doubt if Igor Sushchin, Dmitry Dokuchaev, and Alexsey Belan will be handed over to the American court. There is no treaty between U.S and Russia on extradition. McCord, expects that the Russians respect their criminal justice system.
The prosecution has identified Sushchin and Dokuchaev as officers of Russian Federal Security Service. Baratov and Belan were paid hackers engaged by the FSB to hack into the accounts.
Dokuchaev is in jail in Russia ever since his arrest on betrayal in December. Dokuchaev and his seniors were indicted of passing important information to CIA. Dokuchaev had been arrested by FSB years back. He was asked to work with the agency or serve long-term imprisonment.
It was not until last September that Yahoo revealed the breach. It was only when millions started notifying about their personal information being stolen. Yahoo also revealed about one billion accounts being hacked in 2013 and around the same numbers in 2014 again.
The Russian officers were given access to certain accounts they were looking for to by the cyber-criminals. The criminals were helped by the Russian officials to dodge the system. The criminals also got to keep the personal and financial information to satisfy their financial greed.
Assistant General Counsel and Head of Global Securities, of Yahoo, Chris Madsen, thanked the law enforcement agencies. They are committed to secure the platforms and their users and will always strive to combat cybercrime along with the law, he added.
The point that the accusation bonds together the FSB and offenders is a something new. It will be quite stimulating to see what happens in court.