U.S. Charges Russian Hackers for Attacks on Yahoo

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday announced the indictment of two officers with Russia's FSB security agency in connection with the hacks of some 500 million Yahoo user accounts between 2014 and last year. U.S. officials also charged two other men, a Russian national and a Canadian/Kazakh national, for participating in the major Yahoo security breaches.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary B. McCord called the indictments a "major law enforcement action related to one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history."

The attacks, first revealed by Yahoo in September, had also threatened to derail Verizon's planned acquisition of a large portion of Yahoo's business. Verizon is proceeding with the deal, expected to close in the second quarter of this year, after cutting $350 million from the price, which now totals $4.48 billion.

Among those named in the indictment, filed Feb. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, are FSB officer Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33; FSB officer Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43; Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, 29; and Karim Baratov, 22.

'No Free Passes' for State-Sponsored Crime

In a Washington, D.C., press conference announcing the charges yesterday, McCord noted that Dokuchaev and Sushchin both worked for the FSB's Center for Information Security, also known as Center 18, part of the Russian agency that handles cybercrime investigations. Center 18 is also "the FBI's point of contact in Moscow for [cybercrime] matters," she added.

"The involvement and direction of FSB officers with law enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more egregious," McCord said in a statement. "There are no free passes for foreign state-sponsored criminal behavior."

According to the indictment, instead of detaining Belan, who had been named to the FBI's Cyber Most Wanted list in November 2013, Dokuchaev and Sushchin enlisted his help to gain unauthorized access to...

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