March 15, 2017 Last Updated 2:14 pm

DOJ indicts two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers in Yahoo data breach

While one of the two hackers was arrested in Canada, the other remains protected by Russian, having been previously indicted on hacking charges unrelated to the Yahoo hack

The U.S. Department of Justice today indicted two Russian intelligence officers, as well as two hackers, in connection with a Yahoo data breach. Yahoo eventually disclosed that a billion accounts were accessed in attacks revealed first in September, then in December of last year.

“Today, we are announcing the indictment of four individuals responsible for the 2014 hack into the network of email provider Yahoo, the theft of information about at least 500 million Yahoo accounts and the use of that information to obtain the contents of accounts at Yahoo and other email providers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord at a press conference on Wednesday.

“The defendants include two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), an intelligence and law enforcement agency of the Russian Federation and two criminal hackers with whom they conspired to accomplish these intrusions. Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, both FSB officers, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the United States and elsewhere,” McCord said.

The co-conspirators are Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, accused of doing the hacking. Belan is being protected from extradition by the Russians, but Baratov is a Canadian citizen and was arrested on a U.S. government provisional arrest warrant.

“Belan has been indicted twice before in the United States for three intrusions into e-commerce companies that victimized millions of customers, and he has been one of the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals for more than three years,” McCord said. “Belan’s notorious criminal conduct and a pending Interpol Red Notice did not stop the FSB officers who, instead of detaining him, used him to break into Yahoo’s networks.”

The breach was a black eye for Yahoo, caused because the hackers involved were able to create cookies that told Yahoo’s servers to allow them access to the Yahoo email accounts. The scandal took place while Verizon was attempting to complete a take over of the portion of Yahoo that does not include the company’s Alibaba stake. Eventually Verizon took down the acquisition price slightly, but not significantly. The Yahoo board did decide, however, to not pay CEO Marissa Mayer her annual bonus due to the breach.

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