US Charges Russians in 2014 Attack on Yahoo

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The U.S. on Wednesday indicted two Russian intelligence officers and two cyber hackers who are allegedly behind a massive data breach that targeted Yahoo's email servers.

The U.S. has requested that Interpol issue red notices for those at large, but unless the Russian government decides to cooperate they could easily remain beyond the arm of global law. Sushchin, Dokuchaev's superior also, worked as the Head of Information Security at a Russian investment bank. He was born in Soviet Latvia but holds a Russian passport.

The indictment accused the FSB officers of hiring hackers Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov to accomplish the task, which continued until late 2016.

Officials say the defendants face charges of "computer hacking, economic espionage and other criminal offenses in connection with a conspiracy, beginning in January 2014, to access Yahoo's network and the contents of webmail accounts".

Belan is understood to have used his access to Yahoo to search for and steal financial information such as gift card and credit card numbers from users' accounts.

The Justice Department quickly noted that the charges are not related to the hacking of Democratic emails that took place during the 2016 USA presidential election. With users' personal data, including name, address, dates of birth, and security questions, stolen, the acknowledgement brought on fierce criticism of Yahoo's security capabilities.

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The indictment lists two alleged officers of Russian FSB intelligence agency, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin.

The widespread hack was broadly targeted at the email accounts of Russian and USA officials, journalists and business officials, according to the Associated Press.

The indictments represent the first time the USA has brought criminal charges against Russian officials for cyber offenses.

Three months later, Yahoo revealed it had uncovered a separate hack in 2013 affecting about 1 billion accounts, including some that were also hit in 2014.

The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russian Federation. The Russian agents enlisted Belan to obtain Yahoo's data with the goal of targeting Russian journalists, government officials and others.

Belan, who had previously been indicted in 2012 and 2013, was named one of FBI's most wanted cyber-criminals in November 2013 but escaped to Russian Federation before he could be extradited from Europe, the department said.

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