U.S. charges Russian spies over Yahoo breach

The Russian agents paid two criminal hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, to break into the Yahoo accounts and then steal information that could be used to further compromise other accounts, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Cyber criminals gave Russian officials access to specific accounts they were targeting; and in return, Russian officials helped the criminals to evade authorities and let them keep the type of information that hackers that hack for money tend to exploit such as email addresses and logins and credit card information. The Washington Post reports that Sushchin is Dokuchaev's superior and that both men worked on the Russian equivalent of the FBI's cybercrimes division.

One of the hackers was arrested this week in Canada.

The charges, filed in court in San Francisco, include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage.

"Cyber-crime poses a significant threat to our nation's security and prosperity, and this is one of the largest data breaches in history", Sessions said in a statement. This information was used in turn to obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers.

According to the source, they are not related to the hacking of Democratic emails that took place during the 2016 US presidential election.

In September, Yahoo sent a mass email to users to inform them that their account information had been stolen from its network in a cyberattack in late 2014.

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At a news conference, she and other officials described a widespread and complex scheme that allowed the Russian spies to gather intelligence, while the hackers "lined their pockets".

USA officials have been stepping up actions against alleged cyber intrusions originating in Russian Federation, whose government intelligence agencies have also blamed for a series of high-profile hacks directed against the Democratic Party previous year.

Yahoo a year ago revealed it had suffered a 2013 hack of more than a billion user accounts and a 2014 breach of at least a half billion accounts. The other is in Russian Federation, officials say.

The indictments represent the first time the United States has brought criminal charges against Russian officials for cyber offenses.

Obama administration officials said previous year that the indictment of the Chinese officials and other efforts persuaded Beijing to somewhat curtail its aggressive cyber efforts to steal trade secrets of USA companies. Latvian Alexsey Belan, who is also on the FBI's most wanted list, also received charges along with Karim Baratov, who was born in Kazakhstan and holds Canadian citizenship.

Yahoo also faces class actions in the United States.

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