6 Russian military officers charged in vast hacking campaign

In this news, we discuss the 6 Russian military officers charged in vast hacking campaign.

The Justice Department on Monday announced charges against Russian intelligence operatives in a series of global cyberattacks that targeted a French presidential election, the Winter Olympics in South Korea and American businesses. The case involves the same Kremlin unit that intervened in the 2016 US election, but is not related to the November vote. The indictment accuses the six defendants, all considered to be current and former officers of the Russian military intelligence agency known as GRU, of hacks which prosecutors say were aimed at promoting the geopolitical interests of the Kremlin and to destabilize or punish suspected enemies. In total, the attacks caused billions of dollars in losses and disrupted a wide range of lives, including health care in Pennsylvania, an electricity grid serving hundreds of thousands of customers in Ukraine and a French election that saw the late disclosure of hacked emails.

The seven-count indictment is the most recent in a series of lawsuits launched by the Justice Department against Russian hackers, often working for the government. Previous criminal cases have focused on targets such as internet giant Yahoo and the 2016 presidential contest, when Russian GRU hackers stole Democratic emails posted online in the weeks leading up to the election. The attacks in this case are “some of the most destructive, costly and egregious cyberattacks ever known,” said Scott Brady, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where the 50-page indictment been filed.

“Time and time again, Russia has made it clear: they will not live up to accepted standards, and instead they intend to continue their destructive and destabilizing cyber behavior,” said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich . The indictment does not charge the defendants in connection with interference in the US election, although the officers are part of the same military intelligence unit that prosecutors say interfered with in the 2016 US election. L one of the six defendants in the case announced on Monday was among Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking in Special Advocate Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian electoral interference.

The timing of the arraignment was unrelated to the upcoming U.S. election, Deputy Attorney General John Demers said. He said that despite constant warnings of Russian interference in the election, Americans “should be convinced that the vote cast for their candidates will be counted for that candidate.” The hack targets outlined in Monday’s case are diverse, with the indictment detailing the details of hacks that in some cases had already received special attention for the havoc they had caused. He accuses officers, for example, of hacking the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea after Russia was punished by the International Olympic Committee for a massive doping conspiracy. According to the indictment, hackers carried out a malware attack during the opening ceremony in February 2018 that deleted data from thousands of computers. related to event and left them inoperative. Russia has tried to blame North Korea, officials said. Another attack aimed to disrupt the 2017 presidential election in France by hacks that targeted local government entities, campaigns and political parties, including the party of current President Emmanuel Macron.

The controversy known as “Macron Leaks” involved the leak of more than 20,000 emails related to Macron’s campaign in the days leading up to his victory. The involvement of bots has raised questions about the possible involvement of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. The leaks, which caught media attention in France, were shared by WikiLeaks and several right-wing activists alternative sure Twitter, Facebook and others. Other attacks targeted international investigators investigating the suspected nerve poisoning of former Russian Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, as well as the country of Georgia, where around 15,000 sites Web have been degraded.

“In many cases,” says the indictment, “the Conspirators have replaced the home pages of the site Web by the image of a former Georgian president, known for his efforts to counter Russian influence in Georgia, with the caption: “I’ll be back. But beyond that, the hacks have taken a toll on the quality of life of ordinary citizens. The attacks in Ukraine, for example, cut off the power supply in the dead of winter to hundreds of thousands of customers, officials said. And the global malware attack known as NotPetya has damaged the operation of a healthcare system that serves tens of thousands of people in western Pennsylvania, causing workstations to be locked down, encrypting hard drives and making lab records and other files inaccessible.

Robert Lee, a security researcher who helped uncover the malware used in one of the Ukrainian hacks, said American and European political leaders should have done more at the time to call Russia and make it clear that attacks on power grids are unacceptable. But Lee, CEO of security firm Dragos, also hailed the indictment as an important message ahead of the US presidential election about the resolve of US officials to tackle attacks on elections and civic infrastructure.

“This is a general signal from the US intelligence service to say, ‘We are watching you and we are ready to burn our resources to burn your resources,” “Lee said. “Before the elections, I think this is an important signal to send.” The six defendants face charges, including conspiracy to fraud and computer abuse, electronic fraud and aggravated identity theft. None are currently in custody, but the Justice Department has enthusiastically indicted foreign hackers in absentia in countries like Russia, China and Iran in recent years in an attempt to create a message of deterrence. “No country has armed its cyber capabilities as maliciously and irresponsibly as Russia, causing unprecedented collateral damage for free to seek small tactical advantages like outbursts of spite,” said Demers, the top security official. National Ministry of Justice.

News Highlights:

  • In total, the attacks caused billions of dollars in losses and disrupted a wide range of lives, including healthcare in Pennsylvania, an electricity grid serving hundreds of thousands of customers in Ukraine and a French election that saw the late disclosure of hacked emails. The seven-count indictment is the most recent in a series of lawsuits launched by the Justice Department against Russian hackers, often working for the government.
  • 6 Russian military officers indicted in massive computer hacking campaign
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