For the last several months, Yahoo has been battling revelations of massive security breaches. In September, when it revealed the 2014 hack, it was thought to be the worst hack ever, but just three months later, the internet company revealed a different hack from 2013 which exposed 1 billion accounts.
Two Russian officers charged in Yahoo hack
On Wednesday, the Justice Department charged two Russian intelligence officers with directing the hack that exposed the data of about 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. Russian and U.S. authorities are not actually the ideal example of fast friends, and this just deepens their tussle.
According to The New York Times, the two Russian intelligence agents who allegedly performed the hack were Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin and Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev. According to U.S. investigators, the two men worked for Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B, and were supposed to assist foreign intelligence agencies in catching cyber-criminals, but they instead aided hackers in avoiding detection.
At a news conference in Washington, Mary B. McCord, acting assistant attorney general, said, “The involvement and direction of F.S.B. officers with law enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more egregious.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Yahoo thanked the Justice Department and FBI for their efforts.
Russian intelligence officials facing cyber-crime charges
According to the indictment, the Russian government used the data obtained by the two spies and other intelligence officers to spy on several targets, including two American cloud computing companies, a gambling regulator in Nevada, the White House, executives at banks, military officials, and an airline. Federal prosecutors said the hacked data was also used to spy on Russian business executives and government officials. It is also being reported that the cyber-attackers hacked the Yahoo network for financial gain.
This is not the first time that Russia is being blamed by the U.S. for a cyber-attack. Last year, Russians were accused of stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee. But according to the Justice Department, the Yahoo hack case is the first time that Russian intelligence officials are being blamed by federal prosecutors for cyber-crime, notes The New York Times.
The hackers were not just attacking Yahoo. They were also allegedly looking for a way inside other networks, like Gmail and many other companies. The cyber-criminals are said to have searched emails for other accounts of the same users as well. The attackers could then send emails to influence recipients into providing passwords for other accounts or installing malware.