Canadian Extradited To US Accused In Massive Computer Hack

The hacks at Yahoo compromised more than 1 billion user accounts.                  Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

The hacks at Yahoo compromised more than 1 billion user accounts. Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Only one was arrested, a Canadian. The other three are in Russian Federation.

The FSB officers "directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions", acting USA assistant attorney-general Mary McCord told reporters.

The four men together face 47 criminal charges, including conspiracy, computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department said in a news release. One of the defendants also used his access to Yahoo's networks by searching out credit and gift card numbers to make a financial gain.

However, the officials said, they believe that such charges are useful for sending a message that adversaries face consequences for targeting US companies for traditional spying or financial gain.

The U.S. intelligence community released a report January 6 that said those hacks had been conducted with the knowledge of the Kremlin and with the intent of swaying the campaign in favor of Donald Trump. Some users of BT and Sky email services were also hit.

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Baratov's Facebook profile links to a Russian-language company website for Elite Space that offers a "server in Russia with any configuration and unlimited traffic" and "persistent domains in China".

USA intelligence authorities have concluded that Russian intelligence agencies were behind hacking efforts of Democratic email accounts in last year's election. In December, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Russians - Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan -- for engaging in "malicious cyber-enabled activities".

The conspiracy, laid out in an indictment in federal court in San Francisco, reveals the internal workings of Russia's state cyber-spying regime, implicated in alleged attempts to influence the USA election a year ago.

One of those hackers, Belan, was charged in the Yahoo case. The two FSB officers and Belan than sifted down the hacked accounts to some 6,500 of interest to them, it adds. Russian authorities detained him in December and accused him of "interacting" with US intelligence.

Dokuchaev and Sushchin allegedly tasked Baratov with hacking more than 80 accounts in exchange for commissions, according to US authorities, who submitted a provisional arrest warrant to Canadian authorities March 7. Calls to his home weren't immediately returned. No other tech companies immediately responded to the Department of Justice's overtures.

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Belan moved some of the data from the UDB to his own computer between November and December of 2014, using the File Transfer Protocol, according to the indictment. He was paid a bounty for his intelligence gathering missions, the US said.

While the Yahoo intrusion was the central cog of the operation, the indictments describe a broader intelligence-gathering effort that often went after Russian citizens, including the country's key politicians. One of the criminal hackers was arrested Tuesday in Canada.

They used that information to break into the accounts of Russian and United States officials, Russian journalists and politicians, and business officials from multiple countries.

Three of the suspects allegedly involved in the Yahoo data breach. The hacker was paid was hired to access 80 specific email accounts, including 50 Google accounts. The two worked together using spear phishing email messages to trick recipients into giving them access to their accounts.

It was June 2013, and US law enforcement thought they were finally getting their hands on a slippery target: Russian hacker Alexsey Belan, indicted in Nevada and California for computer intrusions at three USA e-commerce companies, had been arrested in Europe. He made his first court appearance on Wednesday morning in Hamilton, Ontario.

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The justice department has already stated that if Baratov is convicted, it plans to appropriate his grey Aston Martin DBS vehicle with a vanity plate reading "MR KARIM" and seize his PayPal account with the "Elite Space Corporation".

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