Two others named; one of them is on FBI’s most wanted hackers list

March 16, 2017: The US Justice Department has announced charges against four people, including two Russian security officials, over hacks that affected millions of Yahoo users.

Two of the defendants — Dmitry Dokuchaev and his superior Igor Sushchin — are officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The court documents said the duo ‘protected, directed, facilitated and paid’ two criminal hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, to access information that has intelligence value.

“The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI’s point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters, is beyond the pale,” acting assistant attorney General Mary McCord said. US investigators believe that Dokuchaev and Sushchin were working in their official capacity as FSB agents at the time.

Belan is one of the world’s most notorious hackers. There is an Interpol ‘Red Notice’ for his arrest, and he has been listed as one of the FBI’s most wanted hackers since 2012.

The massive hack against at least 500 million Yahoo user accounts happened in 2014. The company publicly acknowledged the breach last September. The disclosure prompted an investigation by US authorities.

The court documents state that Belan ‘provided his FSB conspirators … with the unauthorised access to Yahoo’s network’. He is also accused of using the access to the network for personal financial gain. For example, he allegedly stole financial and gift card information from the Yahoo accounts, and implemented a spam marketing scheme that impacted millions of users, according to the documents.