The Russians may have hacked your Yahoo account
A grand jury has indicted Russian intelligence officers & hackers for attacking Yahoo e-mail accounts.
All this talk of Russians hacking the election. It turns out, they may have been in your Yahoo account all along.
Now four people have been indicted for the massive Yahoo attacks, two of them officers of the FSB—the Russian Federal Security Service, a replacement for the KGB.
They stole details from at least 500 million Yahoo accounts starting in early 2014, the U.S. Justice Department said.
They then used that info to hack into the lives of people like U.S. and Russian government officials, Russian journalists, employees at U.S. financial firms and a U.S. airline, parlaying the Yahoo information into other non-Yahoo e-mail, according to the DOJ.
One defendant scanned Yahoo e-mails for credit card and gift card numbers to steal and enabled a 30-million account spam campaign, the DOJ statement said.
The attackers were able to hack Yahoo accounts until September 2016 when they lost access, but used the stolen information through December 2016, the DOJ said.
This is the first time the U.S. has brought criminal charges for cyber crimes against Russian officials, Reuters reported.
Two FSB officers indicted on cyber crime charges, according to the USDOJ. Image via: FBI
“The indictment unequivocally shows the attacks on Yahoo were state-sponsored,” Yahoo’s Head of Global Law Enforcement, Security and Safety Chris Madsen said in a statement.
“Very grateful to the FBI & DOJ for bringing to justice the Russian officials & hackers who led the attack on Yahoo,” tweeted the verified account of Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo.
Who are they?
The Russian intelligence officers named in the indictment are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, age 33, and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, age 43.
The FSB reportedly arrested Dokuchaev in January, along with another FSB officer and an employee of cybersecurity company Kasperksy Lab.
The DOJ said the two officers directed and paid the other two defendants, Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, also known as “Magg,” age 29, who lives in Russia, and Karim Baratov, age 22, who lives in Canada.
The FBI listed Alexsey Belan as one of its Cyber Most Wanted. Image via: FBI
Belan has been in the public eye before. He was indicted in September 2012 and June 2013 and was listed as one of the FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted soon after.
He was arrested in Europe in 2013, but escaped to Russia. Though the U.S. wanted Belan back, the two FSB officers instead used Belan to siege Yahoo accounts on a large scale, the DOJ said.
In December, President Barack Obama named him as a Specially Designated National—subject to sanctions—one of two criminal hackers on the list.
Canadian law enforcement arrested Baratov yesterday. He helped the others use the Yahoo info to get into other non-Yahoo e-mail accounts, according to the DOJ.
“Once again, the Department and the FBI have demonstrated that hackers around the world can and will be exposed and held accountable,” said said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord in a statement. “State actors may be using common criminals to access the data they want, but the indictment shows that our companies do not have to stand alone against this threat.”
Yahoo said this indictment covers both well-publicized attacks—the user data theft in 2014 and the “cookie forging” attack in 2015 and 2016.
“We’re committed to keeping our users and our platforms secure and will continue to engage with law enforcement to combat cybercrime,” Madsen’s statement said.
A source familiar to the situation told Archer News that Yahoo took action after the attacks, including notifying potentially affected users and making them change their passwords.
The company also invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers to keep hackers from using them against you, the source said.
In addition, the company brought in outside forensic experts to investigate the forged cookies that allowed hackers into accounts and identify who was targeted, according to the source. Yahoo notified the people whose accounts were affected and invalidated the freed cookies, the source added.
The news of the indictment has spread on Twitter, bringing plenty of commentary.
“Crazy when you have to break away from a news conf. about Russian hacking of elex to cover another news conf. about Russian hacking of Yahoo,” tweeted the verified account of Hasani Gittens, senior news editor @NBCNews.
“The Justice Department has announced it will indict a Russian microwave for Yahoo hack,” joked @ParaComedian09.
“How do you know it was the Russians when it is plausible the CIA could make it look like the Russians?” asked @necie_necie624.
“This whole time I thought it was the 400lb man on his couch– DOJ charging ?? spies & criminal hackers for Yahoo hack,” tweeted @davebernstein.