Russia says it was not involved in any unlawful cyber
activities, a day after the U.S. Justice Department announced
indictments for two Russian spies and two other people suspected
of stealing personal information of millions of people in a 2014
hack of Yahoo.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday that no
Russian office, including the Russian Federal Security Service
(FSB) was involved.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said the four
indictments include two FSB officers and two hackers who helped
them in the intrusion.
The FSB officers, identified as Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor
Sushchin, “protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal
hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in
the United States and elsewhere,” she said.
McCord said the hackers targeted the accounts of government
officials from both Russia and the United States, as well as
journalists, financial services employees and military
One of the co-conspirators, Alexsey Belan, has been indicted
twice before by the United States for similar hacking exploits,
and has been on the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals list for
more than three years.
The other hacker, Karim Baratov, was arrested Tuesday in Canada,
The FSB is Russia’s intelligence agency. The unit within the FSB
where the two defendants work, known as Center 18, is the main
“point of contact in Moscow for cyber-crime matters,” according
“The involvement and direction of FSB officers with law
enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more
egregious,” she said. “There are no free passes for foreign
state-sponsored criminal behavior.”
In 2014, Yahoo’s security team uncovered evidence that a hacker
backed by an unnamed foreign government had pried into user
accounts, but executives “failed to act sufficiently” on that
knowledge, according to the results of an internal
investigation. At that time, Yahoo only notified 26 people that
their accounts had been breached.
That breach affected at least 500 million users whose email
addresses, birth dates, answers to security questions, and other
personal information may have been stolen.
Three months later, Yahoo revealed it had uncovered a separate
hack in 2013 affecting about 1 billion accounts, including some
that were also hit in 2014.
The company’s investigation into the mishandled hack led to the
loss of an annual bonus for CEO Marissa Mayer and the
resignation of Yahoo’s general counsel, Ronald Bell.