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Russia denies official involvement in 'any' cybercrimes

The US cyber policy task force strongly advocated bulking cyber defenses and ramping up the cost of attacks to discouraging levels
US indicted two FSB intelligence agents over cyber attacks on Yahoo that compromised 500 million accounts

The Kremlin on Thursday denied any official Russian involvement in cybercrimes after the US indicted two FSB intelligence agents over cyber attacks on Yahoo that compromised 500 million accounts.

"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," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. 

The indictment unveiled in Washington links Russia's top spy agency to one of the largest cyber attacks in history, carried out in 2014, and which officials said was used for espionage and financial gain.

Officials identified the agents as Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, both of whom were part of the successor agency to Russia's KGB.

Dokuchaev was an officer in the FSB Center for Information Security, known as "Center 18," which is supposed to investigate hacking and is the FBI's point of contact in Moscow for cyber crimes.

The 33-year-old was reported to have been arrested in Moscow earlier this year on treason charges. He is accused of directing the Yahoo hack along with his superior, the 43-year-old Sushchin.

The two officers "protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the United States and elsewhere," acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord told reporters.

They hired Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, described as "criminal hackers," to carry out the attacks.

McCord said Baratov was arrested this week on a US warrant in Canada.  

Belan, 29, has been indicted twice in US cases involving the hacking of e-commerce companies, and is listed as one of the FBI's "Cyber Most Wanted criminals."

The indictments would be the first time the US brought criminal charges against Russian officials for cyber crimes, according to Reuters.

(Staff with agencies)


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