Justice Department charges Russian spies, hackers in Yahoo breach

This is the first time officials of Russia’s FSB have been indicted on cybercrime charges in the United States said Jack Bennett special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco office

Two of those charged, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, work for a cyber division known as "Center 18" at Russia's domestic intelligence agency, the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

The four men together face 47 criminal charges, including conspiracy, computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Together with Belan, all three are now at the top of FBI's most-wanted cyber criminals list.

The U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce the indictments later on Wednesday.

"When nation states support this kind of activity it's not a fair fight". They also got employees of a Russian investment banking firm, a French transportation company, USA financial services and private equity firms, a Swiss bitcoin wallet and banking firm and a US airline. After announcing the indictments USA will put out another official request for their extradition, he said.

During the alleged conspiracy, Dokuchaev and Sushchin also purportedly aided Belan's "other criminal activities" by keeping him apprised of intelligence information and helped him avoid detection by US and non-Russian law enforcement.

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.


"But thanks to the tireless efforts of U. prosecutors and investigators, as well as our Canadian partners, today we have identified four individuals, including two Russian FSB officers, responsible for unauthorised access to millions of users' accounts". It was considered one of the largest breaches in history until the company was forced to disclose yet another breach from 2013 where 1 billion accounts were compromised.

The indictments include two members of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian intelligence agency that was once headed by Vladimir Putin, and two criminal hackers hired by the Russians. Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan has the pending red corner notice against him and was nearly caught in Europe before he managed to escape to Russian Federation, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US.

Baratov is citizen of Canada and was reportedly born in Kazakhstan.

Breaking into a Yahoo account would have given hackers access to users' activity on Flickr, Tumblr, fantasy sports and other Yahoo applications.

It comes as federal authorities investigate Russian interference through hacking in the 2016 presidential election.

Yahoo's 2014 breach affected 500 million user accounts.

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