Most Destructive Hackers Ever? So Says Justice Department

Feds indict 6 Russian intelligence officers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 19, 2020 12:41 PM CDT
Most Destructive Hackers Ever? So Says Justice Department
The American flag flies outside of the Justice Department building, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Six Russian military officers sought to disrupt through computer hacking the French election, the Winter Olympics, and US businesses, according to a Justice Department indictment unsealed Monday that details attacks on a broad range of political, financial, and athletic targets, per the AP. However, the indictment does not charge the defendants in connection with interference in American elections, focusing instead on attacks that prosecutors said were aimed at promoting Russian's own geopolitical interests. Those include cyberattacks that targeted the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where Russian athletes were banned because of a state-sponsored doping effort.

The indictment also accuses the defendants, all alleged officers in the Russian military agency known as the GRU, in destructive attacks on Ukraine's power grid and in a hack-and-leak effort directed at the political party of French President Emmanuel Macron during the 2017 election. The Washington Post says the suspects also are accused of being behind a massive global ransomware virus known as NotPetya that infected computers around the world and caused billions of dollars in damage. "No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously and irresponsibly as Russia," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers. He called it "the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group." (Read more Russian hackers stories.)

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