The news about the seven GRU officers, indicted for a series of cybercrimes by the US, British and Dutch authorities, is still a hot topic, with further details exposed, CNN reports.
The defendants Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, Evgenii Mikhaylovich, Serebriakov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev and Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin were indicted for cybercrime, wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering. They were part of the military unit 26165, and Oleg Mikhailovich Sotnikov and Alexey Valerevich Minin were GRU officers.
In an official statement, the US Justice Department announced that these seven people had participated in an organized action to compromise international anti-doping organizations. The hacker campaign was designed as a vengeance, as the victims' organizations have uncovered a state-sponsored Russian doping program for athletes.
According to the hackers’ conspiracy, the seven spies have hacked the accounts of employees from various anti-doping agencies. Their purpose was to steal information and to spread it to destroy these organizations’ reputation. The defendants have also tried to spread false information that athletes from different nationalities use forbidden drugs to improve their sporting achievements.
“State-sponsored hacking and disinformation campaigns pose serious threats to our security and to our open society, but the Department of Justice is defending against them,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in an announcement. “Today we are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia’s state-sponsored doping program. The defendants in this case allegedly targeted multiple Americans and American entities for hacking, from our national anti-doping agency to the Westinghouse Electric Company near Pittsburgh. We are determined to achieve justice in these cases and we will continue to protect the American people from hackers and disinformation.”
The stolen and falsified information was released on social media under the ‘Fancy Bears' Hack Team’ nickname. It is through social networks that the hacking spies have contacted reporters and tried to provide them with false information that would generate serious media attention.
“As part of its influence and disinformation efforts, the Fancy Bears’ Hack Team engaged in a concerted effort to draw media attention to the leaks through a proactive outreach campaign,” the official statement said. “The conspirators exchanged e-mails and private messages with approximately 186 reporters in an apparent attempt to amplify the exposure and effect of their message.”
Read more about the unprecedented high-level scandal here.
Photo: The Irish Times