US DoJ indicted 7 Russian Intelligence officers for attacking Anti-Doping Organizations

Pierluigi Paganini October 05, 2018

US DoJ indicted seven defendants working for the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), for hacking, wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.

The news of the day is that a US DoJ indicted seven defendants working for the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), for hacking, wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.

The defendants are Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, Evgenii Mikhaylovich, Serebriakov, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, and Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, who work for the Military Unit 26165, and GRU officers Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov and Alexey Valerevich Minin.

The hackers were involved in a cyber operation aimed at discrediting the international anti-doping organizations and officials that revealed athlete doping program sustained by Moscow.

The GRU officers hacked into the accounts of officials at the anti-doping organizations to steal confidential data and spread them to and delegitimize them.

According to prosecutors, defendants also attempted to spread the fake news on doping programs followed by athletes from other countries.

“According to the indictment, beginning in or around December 2014 and continuing until at least May 2018, the conspiracy conducted persistent and sophisticated computer intrusions affecting U.S. persons, corporate entities, international organizations, and their respective employees located around the world, based on their strategic interest to the Russian government.” reads the DoJ press release.

“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,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “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 Russian state-sponsored hackers have spread fake news via social media accounts and other infrastructure acquired and maintained by GRU Unit 74455 in Russia.

The cyber spies were operating under the name of a false hacktivist group calling itself the “Fancy Bears’ Hack Team.”

“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,” continues the press release.

“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.”

The indictments of the seven GRU members is the latest in a string of similar actions against Russian agents involved in hacking activities.

In July, the special Counsel Robert Mueller, who indicted on February 13 Russians for a massive operation aimed to influence the 2016 Presidential election, charged 12 Russian intelligence officers working under the GRU of carrying out “large-scale cyber operations” to steal Democratic Party documents and emails.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – GRU, Russian hackers)

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