On Wednesday, U.S. law enforcement officials announced that the Department of Justice was charging four people in connection with the large-scale hacking of Yahoo. Among those charged are two members of the Russian intelligence agency. Two criminal hackers have also been charged.
The data breach which occurred in 2014 affected at least 500 million Yahoo accounts.
Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said on Wednesday that the hacking of Yahoo was done “with the backing of a nation state.”
“The criminal conduct at issue — carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI’s point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters — is beyond the pale,” McCord said in a news conference.
The DOJ said in a statement that some of the stolen information was used to “obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers, including accounts of Russian journalists, US and Russian government officials and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies.”
The two Russian intelligence agency agents were identified as 43-year-old Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin and 33-year-old Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev. They are both officers in the FSB, Russia’s rebranded version of the Soviet Union’s KGB.
The two Russian agents allegedly conspired with Russian national Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan aka “Magg” and Canadian resident Karim Baratov aka “Kay.”
On Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer publicly thanked U.S. authorities, stating that she was “very grateful” to the FBI and the DOJ.