In a rare move, the US has indicted two Russian government agents for their suspected involvement in a massive Yahoo data breach. It's possible that Russian Federation might indict US agents it suspects in a hacking case - not that it would have any more luck prosecuting them. The indictment is part of the largest hacking case brought by the United States to date.
It comes as federal authorities investigate Russian interference through hacking in the 2016 presidential election. But the move reflects the USA government's increasing desire to hold foreign governments accountable for malicious acts in cyberspace. Once he obtained passwords, he would sell them to Dokuchaev, the USA said.
Yahoo disclosed the incident, one of the largest known data breaches, last year. Officials have not determined whether there is a link between the two.
Private hackers know to avoid attacking Russian-language sites and to share their profits with authorities, he said. The deal is proceeding after Verizon negotiated the price down after the breaches. The hackers also filched the firm's source code and proprietary technology to manage users' accounts and password changes.
The hackers then used the database to forge credentials, tricking Yahoo servers into recognizing them as an account holder who had essentially stayed logged in.
They used that information to break into the accounts of Russian and U.S. officials, Russian journalists and politicians, and business officials from multiple countries.
Hackers allegedly gained access to a European diplomat's account, and they targeted accounts of a former Minister of Economic Development in a country bordering Russian Federation (and his wife).
"The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI's point of contact in Moscow on cyber crime matters, is beyond the pale", McCord said.
One of those other indicted for-hire hackers, Alexsey Belan, listed as one of the FBI's Cyber Most Wanted criminals, is said to still be in Russian Federation, after he was previously charged with hacking by U.S. authorities on two occasions in recent years.
Belan is on the FBI's list of most wanted hackers, and is the subject of an Interpol red notice, an global alert that a person is wanted.
Peskov said Russian officials found out about the arrests from media sources and were not informed through official channels but the Kremlin was ready to help out U.S. authorities in the case. And the other defendant, "Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov", 22, is a Canadian and Kazakh national and lives in Canada. He was an associate of FSB officer Dmitry Dokuchaev, 33. This helped the FSB zero in on which accounts to go after.
Belan moved some of the data from the UDB to his own computer between November and December of 2014, using the File Transfer Protocol, according to the indictment.
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The charges coincide with mounting tensions between USA intelligence agencies and Russian President Vladimir Putin's government, which they accused of hacking the 2016 US presidential election to influence the vote in favor of then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.
In 2011, Dokuchaev was identified by the pseudonym "Forb" in the Russian-language magazine Hacker.
Russian news accounts stressed that one of the FSB agents, Dmitry Dokuchaev, was arrested by Russian authorities in December and charged with treason.
Though the USA government has previously charged individual Russian hackers with cybercrime - as well as hackers directly linked to the Chinese and Iranian governments - this is the first criminal case to name as defendants sitting members of the FSB for hacking charges, the Justice Department said. Instead, "they turned against that type of work". "We are deeply grateful to the FBI for investigating these crimes and the DOJ for bringing charges against those responsible", said Chris Madsen, assistant general counsel and head of Global Law Enforcement, Security & Safety at Yahoo.
San Francisco FBI agents led the investigation, according to Justice Department officials. Two others have also been charged.
"They have the effect of galvanizing other countries that are watching what's happening", said Luke Dembosky, a former deputy assistant attorney general for national security.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer said the Mounties assisted the FBI in its investigation, and Pugash said Toronto officers effected the arrest because its fugitive squad has a strong reputation.
US officials said Baratov did not succeed in hacking the Gmail accounts.
In early 2015, the Obama administration imposed economic sanctions on North Korea for its cyberattack on Sony Pictures' systems.
In December, then-president Barack Obama updated an executive order naming Belan as among hackers whose activities posed a "significant threat" to US national security or financial stability or were aimed at "interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions".
Nearly all nations engage in some type of cyber espionage but Russian Federation stands apart in that rather than using intelligence and military staff, it outsources the work to criminal hackers from its thriving cyber underground.