U.S. Justice Department Charges Russian Officials Over Global Hacking Campaigns

The United States Justice Department announced on March 24 that four Russian government employees have been previously indicted for two separate incidents of alleged involvement in global hacking campaigns.

According to the Justice Department, the hacking campaigns “targeted thousands of computers, at hundreds of companies and organizations, in approximately 135 countries.”

The Justice Department said that they unsealed the two indictments as a warning amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Although the criminal charges unsealed today reflect past activity, they make crystal clear the urgent ongoing need for American businesses to harden their defenses and remain vigilant,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Mocano said.

According to the first indictment, Evgeny Gladkikh and his unidentified co-conspirators allegedly hacked a foreign energy facility between May and September 2017 that caused two emergency shutdowns.

Gladkikh and his co-conspirators later attempted to carry out a similar attack on a U.S. company between February and July 2018 but were unsuccessful.

Gladkikh is charged with one count of conspiracy to cause damage to an energy facility, one count of attempt to cause damage to an energy facility, and one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

In the second indictment, the Justice Department alleged that Pavel Akulov, Mikhail Gavrilov, and Marat Tyukov, together with their unidentified co-conspirators, attempted to infiltrate organizations in the international energy sector, including oil and gas firms, nuclear power plants, and utility and power transmission companies.

Akulov, Gavrilov, and Tyukov are charged with conspiracy to cause damage to the property of an energy facility and commit computer fraud and abuse and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Akulov and Gavrilov are also charged with substantive counts of wire fraud and computer fraud related to unlawfully obtaining information from computers and causing damage to computers and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

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