7 Russians Indicted for Hacking: DoJ

Monday, October 15, 2018 @ 07:10 PM gHale

A criminal indictment ended up unsealed Thursday that charges seven Russian citizens and residents with computer hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering, said officials at the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The indictment by a grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania accuses the men of perpetrating “persistent and sophisticated computer intrusions” against multiple targets in the U.S. and abroad meant to promote the strategic interests of the Russian government.

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DoJ officials said all of the accused are members of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, aka the GRU.

“We are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia’s state-sponsored doping program,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The defendants in this case allegedly targeted multiple Americans and American entities for hacking, from our national anti-doping agency to the Westinghouse Electric Company near Pittsburgh.”

The indictment said five of the GRU officers serve in the elite military unit 26165 – also called GRU 85 Main Special Service Center – which runs high-risk cyber espionage operations. The five indicted include:
• Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, 41
• Evgenii Mikhaylovich, Serebriakov, 37
• Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, 32
• Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, 30
• Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, 27

The indictment also names two others who DoJ said acted as officers:
• Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov, 46
• Alexey Valerevich Minin, 46

“The actions of these seven hackers, all working as officials for the Russian government, were criminal, retaliatory and damaging to innocent victims and the United States’ economy, as well as to world organizations,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The British and Dutch governments have tied military unit 26165 to attempts to interfere in investigations being conducted into not just into Russia’s athlete doping program but also the investigation into the shooting down of Malaysian airlines flight MH17.

Each of the seven defendants has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Five of the suspects – Morenets, Serebriakov, Yermakov, Malyshev, and Badin – have also been charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Yermakov has also been charged with five counts of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

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