US Charges Russian Individual for Pre-Invasion Ukraine Hack

Written by

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged a Russian national, Amin Timovich Stigal, aged 22, for hacking into and destroying the Ukrainian government’s computer systems and data ahead of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

On June 25, a federal grand jury in Maryland returned an indictment charging Stigal with conspiring with Russian Military Intelligence (GRU) in advance of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Stigal’s alleged targets included Ukrainian government IT systems and data with no military or defense-related roles and computer systems in countries that were providing support to Ukraine, including the US.

Stigal Involved in the ‘WhisperGate’ Cyber-Attack

According to court documents, Stigal was involved in a January 2022 malicious campaign led by the GRU.

The campaign used a US-based company’s services to distribute malware known as WhisperGate to dozens of Ukrainian government entities’ computer systems and destroy those systems and related data.

Read more: Ukrainian Government Websites Forced Offline in "Massive" Cyber-Attack

In a public statement, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate commented: “Amin Timovich Stigal attempted to leverage malware to aid the Russian military in the invasion of Ukraine. Today’s indictment demonstrates the FBI’s unwavering commitment to combat malicious cyber activities by our adversaries, and we will continue to work with our international partners to thwart attempts to undermine and harm our allies.”

If convicted, Stigal faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

However, the defendant is still at large. The US State Department is offering a reward of up to $10m for information on his location or his malicious cyber activity via its Rewards for Justice program.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?