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Russian Agents Were Behind Yahoo Security Breach
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged four men, including two Russian intelligence agents, with the 2014 hacking of roughly 500 million Yahoo user accounts, which was one of the largest data breaches on record.
According to a statement from the Justice Department, the defendants include Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, a Russian national and resident; Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, a Russian national and resident; Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, aka “Magg,” 29, a Russian national and resident; and Karim Baratov, aka “Kay,” “Karim Taloverov” and “Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov,” 22, a Canadian and Kazakh national and a resident of Canada.
“Cyber crime poses a significant threat to our nation’s security and prosperity, and this is one of the largest data breaches in history,” Attorney General Sessions said in a statement. “But thanks to the tireless efforts of U.S. prosecutors and investigators, as well as our Canadian partners, today we have identified four individuals, including two Russian FSB officers, responsible for unauthorized access to millions of users’ accounts. The United States will vigorously investigate and prosecute the people behind such attacks to the fullest extent of the law.”
Per the Justice Department:
The defendants used unauthorized access to Yahoo’s systems to steal information from about at least 500 million Yahoo accounts and then used some of that stolen information to obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers, including accounts of Russian journalists, U.S. and Russian government officials and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies. One of the defendants also exploited his access to Yahoo’s network for his personal financial gain, by searching Yahoo user communications for credit card and gift card account numbers, redirecting a subset of Yahoo search engine web traffic so he could make commissions and enabling the theft of the contacts of at least 30 million Yahoo accounts to facilitate a spam campaign.
Yahoo announced last year that it had been the victim of two major security breaches over the past several years. The revelations put Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s leadership under increased scrutiny, while also sewing seeds of doubt about Verzion’s deal to acquire the internet pioneer.
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