UPDATE 1:28 p.m. EST:
One of the FSB officials indicted, Dmitry Dokuchaev, was arrested by Russia in December and accused of spying for the U.S., CNN reported in February. He faced treason charges, along with his boss, Sergei Mikhailov, head of the FSB Information Security Centre.
UPDATE 11:59 a.m. EST:
One of the alleged hackers, Karim Baratov, was arrested in Canada on Tuesday on a U.S. warrant, according to a Justice Department release.
The other three suspects, all from Russia, include:
- Dmitry Dokuchaev, 33, one of the FSB officers
- Alexey Belan, AKA "Magg" 29, a hacker paid by the FSB and on the FBI's "Cyber Most Wanted" list since 2012
- Igor Sushchin, 43, one of the FSB officers
Back in 2013, Belan had been arrested in Europe and was set to be extradited to the U.S. However, he escaped to Russia, where FSB agents used him to gain access to Yahoo. In 2014, Belan stole part of Yahoo's user database and account management tool, allowing him to find and access at least 6,500 Yahoo accounts without being authorized.
That information was also used to access other accounts, like Gmail.
Those accounts included both foreign officials and commercial entities, including Russian journalists, Russian and U.S. government officials, Russian cybersecurity firm employees, a Swiss banking firm, a U.S. airline and U.S. financial services, among others. The businesses involved were not named.
While working with the FSB, Belan also used more than 30 million accounts to run a spam ring. Belan and the FSB lost access to Yahoo by September 2016, but by that point had been in the system for more than two years.
UPDATE 11:49 a.m. EST:
Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general for national security, confirmed Russian spies were indicted in the Yahoo email hack that exposed hundreds of millions of accounts.
Hackers working for Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) targeted Russian and U.S. government officials, including diplomats. Journalists were also targeted
One of the hackers not sponsored by Russia used his access to Yahoo's email systems to steal financial information.
Hackers used email spearphishing, leased servers in US and elsewhere, falsely registered email accounts, and DLing code onto Yahoo networks.— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) March 15, 2017
Hackers used techniques like spearphishing and leasing U.S. servers to break in.
Just now: Russian FSB officers "protected, directed, facilitated, and paid" hackers behind the massive breach of Yahoo, says DOJ— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 15, 2017
The FSB "protected, directed, facilitated and paid" the hackers involved, McCord said.
UPDATE 10:57 a.m. EST:
Two of the people facing charges for massive Yahoo email breaches were officers of Russian security services, The Associated Press reported, citing an anonymous source.
Reuters similarly reported that "Russian spies" were among those charged.
BREAKING: AP Source: 4 defendants, including 2 officers of Russian security services, charged by US in massive Yahoo data breach .— The Associated Press (@AP) March 15, 2017
One of the suspects was believed to be in Canada, and three others are believed to be in Russia. Some are tied to the Russian government, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Justice Department is holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in Washington, D.C., where it is believed it will elaborate on the charges.
The company has suffered a series of hacks, including one in 2013 that may have exposed more than one billion users' personal information. Yahoo still hasn't identified who was involved in that hack. It pinned the first hack on "state-sponsored actors," but no suspects have been named.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed in the wake of the hacks, Bloomberg reports.
The fallout from the hacks led outgoing CEO Marissa Mayer to forgo her $20 million bonus.
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