Russian Spies Charged in Yahoo Data Breach
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged four individuals in connection with a 2014 data breach at Yahoo, which resulted in the theft of account information of 500 million Yahoo users.
Two Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, have been charged along with two hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, who were paid by the two Russian spies, according to the DOJ. Baratov was taken into custody in Canada, and Belan is already on the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals list, as he has been indicted multiple times.
This is the first time the U.S. government has criminally charged Russian intelligence officers for cyber offenses, and according to CBS, it is not clear if Dokuchaev and Sushchin will see a U.S. courtroom, as the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia. However, Mary McCord, the acting assistant attorney general for national security said she hopes the Russian government will cooperate with the United States.
McCord also said the group targeted U.S. government officials, Russian journalists, employees of internet firms and employees of financial companies.
The men face a combined 47 criminal charges, including economic espionage, aggravated identity theft and theft of trade secrets, according to a statement on the DOJ’s website. The statement also claims at least one of the defendants also exploited access to Yahoo’s network for financial gain, as he searched Yahoo user communications for credit card and gift card account numbers.
From the beginning, Yahoo has asserted this breach was the result of a state-sponsored attack, and a spokesperson said the company is pleased their suspicions have been proven correct.
“The indictment unequivocally shows the attacks on Yahoo were state-sponsored,” said Chris Madsen, assistant general counsel at Yahoo, in a statement. “We are deeply grateful to the FBI for investigating these crimes and the DOJ for bringing charges against those responsible.”