DOJ Charges Two Russian Spies In Massive Yahoo Hack

Tyler Durden's picture

As previewed earlier, a grand jury in California has charged four people — including two Russian FSB intelligence officers, i.e. "spies" — in a pair of computer hacks against Yahoo that victimised hundreds of millions of consumers, the DOJ said on Wednesday. The men penetrated Yahoo’s email accounts, often using “spear phishing” emails, and used information they obtained to access other accounts at Yahoo and Google,, prosecutors said.

Watch the press conference live:


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

*  *  *

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."

The 2014 Yahoo hack was first reported last fall, in what was then considered the largest data breach in history. The firm later disclosed another intrusion affecting more than 1 billion user accounts in 2013, far surpassing the 2014 event, although officials have not determined if there is a link between the two.

The twin hacks clouded the prospects for the sale of Yahoo’s core business to telecommunications giant Verizon. The deal is proceeding after Verizon negotiated the price down in the wake of the data breaches.

Some more details on the soon to be charged individuals:

The indicted FSB officers are Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, his superior. The men worked for the cyber investigative arm of the FSB — a rough equivalent of the FBI’s Cyber Division. "That the agency that is supposed to investigate computer intrusions Russia is engaged in hacking is pretty sad,” an official was quoted by the WaPo.

Dokuchaev, whose hacker alias was “Forb,” was arrested in December in Moscow, according to the news agency Interfax, on charges of state treason for passing information to the CIA. He had reportedly agreed to work for the FSB to avoid prosecution for bank card fraud.

Another man indicted in the case is Alexsey Belan, who is on the most-wanted cyber list and has been charged twice before, in connection with intrusions into three major tech firms in Nevada and California in 2012 and 2013. He was in custody in Greece for a time, but made his way back to Russia, where he is being protected by authorities, officials said. The other hacker-for-hire is Karim Baratov, who was born in Kazakhstan but has Canadian citizenship. He was arrested in Canada on Tuesday.

The WaPo adds that the indictments grew out of a nearly two-year investigation by the San Francisco FBI with the aid of international law enforcement, officials said. “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. “They show that we have the resources and capabilities to identify the people at the keyboard, even in the most sophisticated cases.”

In a similar crackdown against a state hacker, three years ago, the United States brought charges against five Chinese military hackers for economic espionage, marking the first time cyber-related charges were levied against foreign government officials. After the Chinese military hackers were indicted, officials said their activity seemed to dwindle. And the indictments, Dembosky said, helped wrest a pledge in 2015 from the Chinese to stop economic cyber espionage against U.S. firms.

In late December, the Obama administration levied economic sanctions on Moscow for its election-year meddling. At the same time, the government sanctioned two Russian criminal hackers with no apparent connection to the Kremlin’s interference campaign. They included Belan, who is one of the four indicted in the Yahoo case.

It is unclear how the Kremlin will respond to this latest escalation in the alleged cyberwar between the two nations, although an "in kind" allegation of hacking charges against US-based entities is to be expected.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
spastic_colon's picture

false flag precedent for the libs...........just gonna keep beating the russian thingy.

Looney's picture

 

What happened to those 5 Chinese officers also charged with hacking a few years back?   ;-)

Looney

silverer's picture

Charged with being Russian?

Deathrips's picture

After spending trillions in american taxpayer money to bring these criminals to just us...the captured culprits were buried at sea.

 

RIPS

froze25's picture

So was it Russians or CIA acting as Russians to provoke a major war or just waste more money on weapons systems? Since this is coming from the WaPo, its most likely cover for the CIA rogue elements.

Deathrips's picture

An anomalous expert on the matter said it was the Russians, so that settles it.

Discovery in a trial could have shed some additional light on this hard fact ....but,

Due process was not given to these savages and to prevent international tension no pictures of the burial at sea were taken.

 

RIPS

E.F. Mutton's picture

Russian Spies Ate My Balls

All Your Emails Are Belong Russian Spies

CuttingEdge's picture

I can see the Russians taking "umbrage" at these allegations.

Paul Kersey's picture

Even if these accusations can be proven, Russia isn't about to extradite anyone. Fat mob boss Semion Mogilevich ripped off Americans and Canadians for over $150 million, and Russia refuses to extradite him. However, the timing of this 'criminal finding' announcement is interesting.

BennyBoy's picture

 

Indictments and charges.

One step up from allegations, assertions and innuendos.


Neither require proof or evidence.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

There is something very wrong with this story, aside from the obvious ("WaPo reports", "According to government officials").

The indicted FSB officers are Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, his superior. The men worked for the cyber investigative arm of the FSB — a rough equivalent of the FBI’s Cyber Division. "That the agency that is supposed to investigate computer intrusions Russia is engaged in hacking is pretty sad,” an official was quoted by the WaPo.

First of all, Dmitry Dokuchaev was arrested by Russian officials late last year, along with his superior in the FSB Sergey Mikhailov (not Igor Sushchin). They were accused of cooperation with and passing information to the CIA and have been charged with treason.

https://4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/fsb-officers-arrest...

https://4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/the-relations-of-th...

Although the DOJ has indicted someone named Igor Sushchin, it is not clear why. This morning, when this story was fresh, a google search for the exact term "Igor Sushchin" yielded only six results. Five of these results were variations of this story. The only other result indicated that this person is or was the head of information security at Renaissance Capital Limited. There was nothing linking him to the FSB, and he was not the superior of Dmitry Dokuchaev.

Second, one of the people arrested by the Russians in relation to this case is being represented by Ivan Pavlov, a representative of the "human rights" organization Team 29, which is allegedy a Soros-sponsored NGO.

https://4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/humpty-dumpty-targe...

Lastly, it appears that US citizen Dmitry Alperovich is somehow involved with Dokuchaev and Mikhailov. Alperovich is technical director as well as a co-founder of CrowdStrike. CrowdStrike, as you may recall, is the private "cyber security" firm hired by the Democratic National Committee and which first accused Russian Hackers® as being responsible for the DNC server compromise.

https://4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/a-hacker-or-a-forei...

https://4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/the-case-of-the-rus...

This strange cast of characters raises an all-too-familiar stench.

land_of_the_few's picture

Yes especially as no-one actually gives a stuff about Yahoo

847328_3527's picture

MSM bends over backwards to cnnect this to some mythical Russian hacking of the DNC during the elections.

 

Instead of them focusing on the negligence of Yahoo's poor IT security, they turn and twist to somehow involve the totally irrelevant and Fake news RE: Russians and Trump.

fx's picture

Now, that is too funny. Imagine if the alleged russian hackers got into yahoo via security holes that the C!A had discovered and alraedy selectively used. Imagine further, a Russian spy had gained access to those via spying on the C!A, meaning by accident or design the agency itself facilitated the hacking. Will anyone be going to prosecute the agency for that? Stupid question, of course. my bad.

Bastiat's picture

Are they totally sure it's not those two guys who spoofed McCain and Maxine? 

E.F. Mutton's picture

My cat could spoof Maxine.  You could phish McCain with "HOT WAR PICS INSIDE!!"

JRobby's picture

That Proves It!!!!!

Invalidate the election!!!!!!

(sound of 2 million magazines locking into place......)

NumberNone's picture

Yes and thank God Hillary's server was untouched by hackers.  

Richard Chesler's picture

Isn't Yahoo a Chinese owned company now?

 

JRobby's picture

They were rewarded with some nicely funded offshore accounts and some penthouse condos purchased with thoroughly laundered funds......

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

What's the use of having a dead horse if you can't keep beating it?

The Wizard's picture

I am wondering why all of a sudden charges are being levied on a 2014 event.

They have beat the horse so much there is nothing left.

Dr. Engali's picture

Let's see, you can eat it, make glue, gelatin, make a coat out of it's hide, use it's manes for bow strings and paint brushes..., I'm sure there is moar, but I digress.

Arnold's picture

Dentures at Aspen Dental.

land_of_the_few's picture

Which one, is it Yahoo, or the "Russia-hacking" that is the dead horse getting ass-spanky-CPR ?

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"false flag precedent for the libs"

I thought Sessions ran the DOJ

spicedune's picture

Ever wondered what things used to cost, as in...yesterday? www.inflation.co

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"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."

 

I assume this is the CIA (stooge) pot calling the Russian kettle black?

Hilarious. It's only righteous when we do it.

silverer's picture

Righteous! Approved by Jesus himself. Oh, wait... they're using Mohammed now. OK... approved by Mohammed.

JRobby's picture

Nice catch on the "always use the prophet currently in fashion agenda"

LetThemEatRand's picture

"The indicted FSB officers are Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, his superior....  Dokuchaev, whose hacker alias was “Forb,” was arrested in December in Moscow, according to the news agency Interfax, on charges of state treason for passing information to the CIA. He had reportedly agreed to work for the FSB to avoid prosecution for bank card fraud."

So one of the guys who supposedly did it was arrested by Russia just a few months ago for working with the CIA.  How coincidental.

Winston Churchill's picture

Monkey see, monkey do.

The CIA has been running its 'own' business on the side since inception.

Bastiat's picture

Yeah, ain't that something.

HowdyDoody's picture

So they aren't FSB officers, just FSB agents at best?

fx's picture

In short, a C!A guy did it, possibly without his FSB superiors even aware of the whole thing, in order to enrich himself and his buddies. So it was "a Russian hack". never mind, it was seemingly a C!A hack, carried out by a Russian. Oh well...

fx's picture

Ok, there was a C!A guy involved on the alleged Russian side. We have seen from wikileaks vault#7 that the agency had the tools and the intent to hack everything including the knowledge of security holes to exploit. Now, that C!A guy working allegedly as a double agent in Russia certainly didn't use the agency's knoweldge, did he? Folks, this whole thingy may turn out to be one of the first and most serious results of the C!As reckless handling of their own hacking and espionage tools.

land_of_the_few's picture

The whole thing stinks in exactly the same way as the DNC hack fairy tales.

espirit's picture

I'm confused. What did they actually steal of value from Yahoo?

State Secrets?

Troy Ounce's picture

 

The Awan brothers, Pakistani, Muslim (true, but ab-so-lu-te-ly unimportant), connected to Hezbollah, with top security clearance to peek into the computers of 31 Democrats in the House as well as 3 Intelligence committees, fled the US end of January 2017

Not a word. 

Did I say Muslim? Or Democrat?

Volkodav's picture

Wrong ...

Nothing to do with Hezbollah

 

 

land_of_the_few's picture

Indeed, Paks are Sunni are they not. Same as KSA and Qatar. Hezbollah are Shia.

PT's picture

Ashley Madison client list?

Northern Flicker's picture

I believe the charges are "murky" alright.

Librarian's picture

Plus loitering and trespassing too...

Dr. Engali's picture

Thank God for those evil Russians. The boogie man that just keeps on giving.

 

 

Edit: BTW, what's a Yahoo?

espirit's picture

Most of the early morning noobes on ZH?

silverer's picture

So THAT'S how the Russians affected the elections? They hacked Yahoo! lol. But so did lots of other hackers. These investigator guys are spewing hate crime lines. What if they said Muslim hackers? Or Jap hackers? Or... you get the idea.