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Russia Denies Yahoo Hacking Charges

Russia has denied any involvement in the 2014 hack of internet giant Yahoo, after US authorities charged four people over the incident.

US Department of Justice (DoJ) officials charged two Russian spies and two criminal hackers in relation to the 2014 breach, which exposed around 500 million Yahoo accounts.

According to the BBC, Russian officials have formally denied any involvement in the hack. “As we have said repeatedly, there can be absolutely no question of any official involvement by any Russian agency, including the FSB, in any illegal actions in cyberspace," said spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Reuters added that Russian officials also said they had received no official word from their American counterparts about the charges. All their information had been taken from media reports, Peskov said.

Two of those charged, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, work for the FSB, Russia’s intelligence agency and successor to the KGB. The other two, Karim Baratov and Alexsey Belan, are considered career hackers. Belan is on the FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted list after two previous indictments on hacking charges.

The DoJ’s charges allege that the FSB agents worked closely with Belan and Baratov and passed them information that would help them avoid detection by US authorities. They hacked into Yahoo’s database to target accounts belonging to Russian journalists, Russian and US government officials and employees of a Russian cybersecurity company.

The charges included conspiracy, computer fraud and abuse and economic espionage.

In total around 500 million accounts were compromised. It is further alleged that Belan used this access to steal credit card details and other financial details. It is also claimed that he sold details of 30 million accounts which were subsequently targeted by a spam campaign.

According to Reuters, Canadian citizen Baratov has been arrested. The whereabouts of the other three is currently unknown, but reports suggest they are in Russia. There is currently no extradition treaty between Russia and the US, which could make bringing the suspects to trial difficult.

At a press conference held to announce the charges, acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord said she was hopeful Russia would cooperate in bringing to criminals to justice, Reuters said.

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