US Charges 6 Russian Officers With Hacking

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Anthony Riccobono

The U.S. Justice Department has charged six Russian military officers for launching cyberattacks against American hospitals and businesses, the French election and the 2018 Winter Olympics,  an indictment unsealed Monday revealed.

“No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously and irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented collateral damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said Monday.

The officers who have been charged are part of the GRU, the military intelligence unit that allegedly interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The indictment doesn’t include charges involving the election four years ago.

Prosecutors say the officers caused billions of dollars in damage around the world.

“The attack caused the unavailability of patient lists, patient history, physical examination files and laboratory records,” DOJ said in a press release. “Heritage Valley lost access to its mission-critical computer systems [such as those relating to cardiology, nuclear medicine, radiology, and surgery] for approximately one week and administrative computer systems for almost one month, thereby causing a threat to public health and safety.”

The accused Russian hackers are each charged with conspiracy to conduct computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, damaging protected computers and aggravated identity theft. 

All of the hackers are Russian nationals. The Justice Department release did not say anything about arrests.

The Mueller report concluded the GRU meddled in the 2016 election on Donald Trump’s behalf, spreading misinformation and exploiting divisiveness among the electorate, but said there was no way to conclude whether the agency’s machinations had an impact on the election vote itself.

Computer security firm McAfee estimates cybercrime now costs nearly $ 600 billion a year or 0.8% of global gross domestic product, amounting to a 14% tax on internet economic growth.

US Charges 6 Russian Officers With Hacking

Security researchers have found evidence linking hacking groups from North Korea and Russia Photo: AFP / Fred TANNEAU


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