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Six Russian military officers charged in a vast hacking campaign – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2020-10-20 06:24:01 –

At a Justice Ministry press conference in Washington on Monday, October 19, 2020, a poster showing six Russian military intelligence agents was on the podium as Deputy Prosecutor John Demars of the National Security Division. .. Also depicted is Federal Attorney Scott Brady in the western part of Pennsylvania in the center. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The Justice Department announced on Monday charges against Russian intelligence agents in the French presidential election, the South Korean Winter Olympics, and a series of global cyberattacks targeting US companies. The case involved the same Kremlin forces that interfered with the 2016 US presidential election, but has nothing to do with the November vote.

The complaint promotes the geopolitical interests of the Kremlin and destabilizes or punishes perceived enemies against six defendants allegedly active and former officers of the Russian military intelligence agency known as GRU. He accuses him of being a hacking for that purpose. Overall, the attack cost billions of dollars and disrupted a wide range of lives, including medical care in Pennsylvania, the power grid servicing hundreds of thousands of customers in Ukraine, and the French presidential election. Hacked email.

The seven-count indictment is the latest in a series of Justice Ministry indictments against Russian hackers, often acting on behalf of the government. Past incidents have focused on attacks on targets such as the Internet giant Yahoo and the 2016 presidential election. It was when a Russian hacker at GRU stole a democratic email released online a few weeks before the election.

The attack in this case is “some of the most devastating, most expensive, and most vicious cyberattacks known to date,” said a 50-page indictment in western Pennsylvania. Scott Brady, the district’s federal prosecutor, said.

“Over and over again, Russia has revealed that: they will not follow accepted norms, and instead they will continue their destructive and volatile cyber actions. “FBI Deputy Director David Bowditch said.

The indictment does not indict the defendant in connection with interfering with the US elections, but police officers are part of the same intelligence agency that prosecutors say they interfered in the 2016 US elections. One of the six indicted in the case announced on Monday was one of Russia’s military intelligence agents charged with hacking in an investigation by Robert Mueller, a special adviser on Russian election interference. ..

The timing of the indictment has nothing to do with the next election in the United States, said Deputy Prosecutor John Demars. He should be confident that Americans “will count the votes cast on their candidates, despite continued warnings about Russia’s interference with the elections. “.

Hacking’s targets described in the Monday case are diverse, and the indictment embodies details about the attacks that have already received considerable attention due to the havoc they caused.

The complaint accuses officials of hacking into the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, for example, after Russia was punished by the International Olympic Committee for a vast doping plot.

At the opening ceremony in February 2018, prosecutors said hackers unleashed a devastating malicious software attack that removed data from thousands of computers associated with the event and made it inoperable. Russia then tried to blame North Korea for saying that the prosecution had failed the “false flag operation” attempt.

Another attack was aimed at disrupting France’s 2017 presidential election through hacking targeting local governments, campaigns, and political parties, including the current party of President Emmanuel Macron.

The controversy known as “Macron Leak” was accompanied by a leak of over 20,000 emails related to Macron’s campaign in the days prior to Macron’s victory. The bot’s involvement cast doubt on the possible involvement of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. The leak, which attracted a lot of media attention in France, was shared by WikiLeaks and alt-right activists such as Twitter and Facebook.

Other attacks have targeted international investigators investigating alleged nerve gas poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Scripal and his daughter in the countries of Britain and Georgia. Approximately 15,000 websites have been tampered with there.

“Often, conspirators replaced the website’s home page with an image of a former Georgian president known for his efforts to counter Russia’s influence in Georgia. With a caption,” I’ll be back. ..'”

Beyond that, however, hacking has had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of everyday citizens. For example, an attack in Ukraine cut off electricity for hundreds of thousands of customers in the middle of winter, officials said.

Also, a global malware attack known as NotPetya that has infected computers around the world has damaged the operation of the Heritage Valley Heath system, which prosecutors say is servicing tens of thousands of people in western Pennsylvania. Gave With workstations locked, hard drives encrypted, test records and other files inaccessible, Heritage Valley temporarily lost access to critical healthcare-related computer systems.

Security researcher Robert Lee, who helped discover the malware used in one of the Ukrainian hacks, reveals that U.S. and European political leaders have called on Russia to unacceptably attack the grid. He said he should have done more at that point in order to do so.

However, the CEO of security firm Dragos also welcomed the charges as an important pre-election message about the US authorities’ determination to counter elections and attacks on civil infrastructure.

“This is a broad signal from US intelligence,” we are watching you and are willing to burn our resources to burn your resources, “Lee said. “I think it’s an important signal to send towards the election.”

The six defendants face conspiracies such as Computer Fraud and Abuse, wire fraud, and exacerbation of personal information theft. No one is currently in custody, but the Justice Department has recently enthusiastically prosecuted foreign hackers in absentia in countries such as Russia, China and Iran with the aim of creating a message of deterrence.

“No country has been as malicious and irresponsibly armed with cyber capabilities as Russia, causing unprecedented collateral damage and a slight tactical advantage,” said Demars, the Justice Department’s chief national security official. I just want to pursue it. “



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