Two Russian spies among four charged in US over Yahoo hack

The defendants are also accused of using stolen information to access accounts of Russian journalists and government officials

Two Russian spies among four charged in US over Yahoo hack

Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP/Press Association Images

Two Russian spies and two "criminal hackers" have been charged in the US over a major Yahoo data breach in 2014.

Details of at least 500 million users are believed to have been stolen as a result of the hack.

The US justice department named the defendants as: 

  • Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, a Russian national and resident
  • Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43, a Russian national and resident
  • Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, 29, a Russian national and resident
  • Karim Baratov, 22, a Canadian and Kazakh national and a resident of Canada

Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin are members of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). 

Acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord announced the indictments at a news conference in Washington DC today.

She said: "Two FSB officers, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the US and elsewhere."

Officials say the defendants face charges of "computer hacking, economic espionage and other criminal offenses in connection with a conspiracy, beginning in January 2014, to access Yahoo’s network and the contents of webmail accounts".

They are accused of using the stolen information to access accounts of Russian journalists, US and Russian government officials, and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies.

Ms McCord said Alexsey Belan had been on the FBI's most wanted list for three years.

In a statement, US attorney general Jeff Sessions praised the 'tireless efforts' of US prosecutors and investigators in identifying the suspects.

"The United States will vigorously investigate and prosecute the people behind such attacks to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

FBI director James Comey added: “Today we continue to pierce the veil of anonymity surrounding cyber crimes.

"We are shrinking the world to ensure that cyber criminals think twice before targeting US persons and interests."

Additional reporting by IRN