US Justice Department Charges Russian FSB Spies, Hackers With Massive 2014 Yahoo Hack

The investigation regarding the 2014 Yahoo hack is finally getting somewhere. The United States Justice Department just announced the indictment of two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, and two hackers hired by the Russians. The spies managed to hack into 500 million Yahoo accounts.

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The charges against the four include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage. The United States currently does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, which will make bringing the criminals to justice difficult. The Justice Department also noted that people sometimes slip away to countries that are less than willing to transfer the criminals to the United States for prosecution.

Yahoo officially confirmed the hack this past September, however, rumors of the hack started in the summer of 2016. A hacker known as “Peace” allegedly listed the credentials of 200 million Yahoo accounts for 3 bitcoins, or roughly $1,800 USD at the time. Yahoo was initially reluctant to respond to Peace, which prompted the hack to remark, “Well f***them they don’t want to confirm well better for me they don’t do password reset.” The information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, encrypted passwords, and security questions and answers.

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The charges are unrelated to the alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. The charges are also unrelated to the numerous other hacks Yahoo has disclosed over the past year. In May, the corporation revealed that Russian hackers stole and traded on the black market information from more than 40 million Yahoo accounts. In December, Yahoo revealed that “an unauthorized third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with a broader set of user accounts.” This breach affected 1 billion users, of which over 150,000 were government employees. Yahoo has also been slapped with a class action suit for gross negligence in its data breaches.

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