dglobalnews.com Charges against Canadian in Yahoo hack 'politically motivated': lawyer
Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Markets | By Armando Jensen

Charges against Canadian in Yahoo hack 'politically motivated': lawyer

Charges against Canadian in Yahoo hack 'politically motivated': lawyer

The intrusion, along with a second, earlier hack that exposed even more accounts, has complicated Yahoo's planned acquisition by Verizon Communications.

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. Over the course of the breach, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, the FSB agents and Belan used the cookies to access "more than 6,500 Yahoo accounts".

The DOJ's indictment claims that 33-year-old Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev and 43-year-old Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, both officers in Russia's FSB, directed and paid criminal hackers to collect information by hacking into the email accounts of thousands of individuals.

McCord also said that the massive hacking may have had some intelligence value, but the actions undertaken by the defendants lined their own pockets for private financial gain.

Particularly galling to USA officials is that Dokuchaev and Sushchin worked for the FSB's Center 18 - a rough equivalent of the FBI's Cyber Division.

"I can't imagine the Russian government is going to hand over the two FSB officers", said Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy at SentinelOne.

Former FBI cyber agent Milan Patel, explained: "Magically those guys would disappear off the battlefield and most likely end up working for the Russian government".

The hack at the heart of the indictment occurred in late 2014 but was not made public until last September.

Yahoo on Tuesday thanked law enforcement agencies for their work. That database includes usernames, recovery email accounts, phone numbers and other information.

Yahoo said: "The indictment unequivocally shows the attacks on Yahoo were state-sponsored". The two FSB officers and Belan than sifted down the hacked accounts to some 6,500 of interest to them, it adds.

Paul Abbate, an FBI executive assistant director, said the bureau had had only "limited cooperation with that element of the Russian government in the past", noting that prior USA demands to turn over Belan had been ignored.

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One of the hackers indicted by the DOJ was arrested in Canada on Tuesday, while one of the FSB officers is already in custody in Russian Federation.

USA officials have alleged that two FSB officers, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, colluded with Karim Baratov and Alexsey Belan, who has been on the FBI's most wanted list for more than three years.

He seemed "normal", said a friend who went to high school with Baratov and asked not to be named - as normal as one with a suspicious amount of wealth and no shortage of luxury cars can be.

Other individual targets named in the complaint include three employees from a US cloud services company, a senior officer at a Russian web service provider, 14 employees of a Swiss banking firm, a sales manager at a USA financial company, a gambling official in Nevada, an officer of a USA tech company, a senior officer of a large US airline, the CTO of a French transportation company and numerous people involved with a Russian financial company. And the indictments, Dembosky said, helped wrest a pledge in 2015 from the Chinese to stop economic cyberespionage against US firms.

The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage, according to U.S. justice officials. "State actors may be using common criminals to access the data they want, but the indictment shows that our companies do not have to stand alone against this threat".

Instead, according to an account offered by United States officials, they methodically made their way deeper into Yahoo's network over the space of months - maybe years.

Baratov was arrested in Canada this week.

Belan is not an unknown name to computer crime-fighting authorities, having previously been listed in the FBO's Cyber Crime Most Wanted list, and having been previously detained in a European country in 2013 before escaping back to Russian Federation before extradition. (The Justice Department did not release names of victims, only general descriptions.) They also included 14 employees of a Swiss bitcoin banking firm, a Nevada gaming official, a senior officer of a major US airline, a Shanghai-based managing director of a USA private equity firm, and the chief technology officer of a French transportation company.

Yahoo declined to comment on the report.

"Rather than do that type of work, they actually turned against that type of work", McCord said.

Baratov "appears to have been the least careful about hiding his activities, leaving quite a long trail of email hacking services that took about 10 minutes of searching online to trace back to him specifically", Krebs said. The representative plaintiff, Natalia Karasik, of Barrie, Ont., heard from the company late past year that her information was stolen in a hack in 2013. Following the DNC hacks, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks published thousands of emails from Democratic Party officials and from John Podesta, the campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton. In a 2004 interview with the Russian newspaper Vedomosti, Forb boasted of making money from credit-card fraud and breaking into USA government websites.

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