FSB charged with cybercrime in USA

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Russian FSB officers were indicted for charges of cybercrime in the United States as a result of a complex investigation of possible Kremlin’s support for the Donald Trump campaign.

“The FSB officer defendants, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the U.S. and elsewhere”, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Russia’s spy agency officers worked with two hackers, co-defendants Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov to obtain access to the email accounts of thousands of individuals. Belan and Baratov, Russian citizens, were recruited by FSB and operated from Canada.

Hackers acquired access to the subscriber information including users’ names, recovery email accounts, phone numbers and certain information required to manually create, or “mint,” account authentication web browser “cookies” for more than 500 million Yahoo accounts.

The list of victims suggest that the targets were selected in the business, politics and media in the United States, other Western countries and in Russia.

“Some victim accounts were of predictable interest to the FSB”, the U.S. Justice Department stated. 

Russian hackers stole information from personal accounts of Russian journalists, Russian and US government officials, employess of a prominent Russian cybersecurity company. Other personal email accounts belonged to employess of business organisations and institutions including a Russian investment banking firm, a French transportation companh, US financial services and private equity firms,  Swiss bitcoin wallet, and banking for, and a U.S. airline.

While working with his FSB conspirators to compromise Yahoo’s network and its users, One of the Russian hackers used his access to steal financial information such as gift card and credit card numbers from webmail accounts; to gain access to more than 30 million accounts whose contacts were then stolen to facilitate a spam campaign; and to earn commissions from fraudulently redirecting a subset of Yahoo search engine traffic.

Hackers operated at least from 2014 to December 2016, but lost their access to Yahoo networks in September 2016.

The indected FSB officers are Russian nationals and residents Dmiitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33 and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43. Dokuchaev was an officer in the FSB Center for Information Security. Sushchin was his superior within FSB and was acting under cover of an employee and Head of Information Security at a Russian investment bank.

The FBI, led by the San Francisco Field Office, conducted the investigation that resulted in the charges announced today. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, with support from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

This is the first time that the professionals of the Russian Federation’s intelligence agency were indected for such crimes on the territory of the United States.

(pht)

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