DOJ To Charge Two Russian Spies Over Yahoo Breach In “Largest Hacking Case Ever” – Live Feed

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Mar 15, 2017

With Yahoo having previously accused “state actors” in its historic breach, which exposed the personal data of one billion users, and led to a drop in the price which Verizon ultimately paid for the core business, the WaPo reports, that the Justice Department is set to announce the indictments of two Russian spies and two criminal hackers in connection with the heist of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014, marking the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.

The indictments is said to target two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and two hackers hired by the Russians. The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage.

According to government officials, in the 2014 hack, Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB – a successor to the KGB – supposedly sought information for intelligence purposes, targeting journalists, dissidents and U.S. government officials, but allowed the criminal hackers to use the email cache for the officials’ and the hackers’ financial gain, through spamming and other operations. Breaking into a Yahoo account would give the hackers access to a user’s activity on Flickr, Tumblr, fantasy sports and other Yahoo applications.

The charges “illustrate the murky world of Russian intel services using criminal hackers in a wide variety of ways,” said Milan Patel, a former FBI Cyber Division supervisory special agent who is now a managing director at K2 Intelligence, a cyber firm.

While the indictments will be part of the largest hacking case brought by the United States, the charges are unrelated to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. However, the charge of FSB individuals clearly reflects the U.S. government’s increasing desire to hold foreign governments accountable for malicious acts in cyberspace.

Once charged, however, it is unclear how the Russian “spies” will be brough to justice as the US does not have an extradition treaty with Russia. The WaPo however, notes thatofficials have said that taking steps such as charges and imposing sanctions can have a deterrent effect.

“People also sometimes slip up and travel to a country that is able and willing to transfer them to the United States for prosecution.”

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