Justice Dept. charges four Russia-backed hackers over Yahoo breach

Janie Parker
March 16, 2017

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has indicted two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers over their alleged involvement in the massive Yahoo data breach.

The independent hackers are Alexsey Belan, who's on the list of most-wanted cyber criminals and who's now in Russian Federation under the state's protection, and Karim Baratov, a Canadian citizen arrested on Tuesday. United States authorities are seeking his extradition. A Dmitry Dokuchaev - presumably the same man now charged in the United States - was arrested in Russian Federation last December on charges of treason for allegedly passing information to United States intelligence. Sushchin, Dokuchaev's superior also, worked as the Head of Information Security at a Russian investment bank. Belan escaped arrest in Europe by fleeing to Russian Federation before he could extradited, the report says.

The charges against the men include hacking, wire fraud, trade secrets theft and economic espionage.

Belan also stole gift card and credit card numbers as well as 30 million accounts used to "facilitate a spam campaign" and "earn commissions from fraudulently redirecting a subset of Yahoo's search engine traffic", the Justice Department says.

The Justice Department quickly noted that the charges are not related to the hacking of Democratic emails that took place during the 2016 US presidential election.

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Yahoo disclosed in September the theft of personal data from more than 500 million user accounts through in a 2014 hacking.

Paul Abbate, head of the FBI's cyber branch, called Yahoo breach "one of the largest cyber intrusions in U.S. history" during a press conference held by the U.S. Department of Justice announcing the indictment. The company informed the representative plaintiff, Natalia Karasik, of Barrie, late a year ago that her information was part of a hack of its servers in 2013. However, this is the first criminal case brought against Russian government officials. The other suspect is believed to be in Canada, Bloomberg reported.

He has been one of the FBI's most wanted cyber-criminals for more than three years. Four people have been indicted in connection with a 2014 security breach affecting at least 500 million Yahoo accounts, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday.

The source was also quoted by TASS, RIA and Interfax as saying the topic of "Russian hackers" was part of an internal political struggle in the United States.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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