The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced the indictments [press release] of four Russian individuals in connection with hacking e-mail accounts on Wednesday. The DOJ indicted two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB as well as two conspirators who allegedly performed the hacks. The four indicted individuals are FSB officers Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, as well as hired hackers Alexsey Blean and Karim Baratov. The indictment includes charges of hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and espionage. The US does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, but these charges and potential sanctions are hoped to be a deterrent if the DOJ is unable to obtain the four individuals. The charges relate to the 2014 Yahoo hack [BBC report] concerning more than 500 million Yahoo user accounts. The FBI has been investigating the individuals [WP report] behind the 2014 hack for almost two years.
Possible hackings and data breaches have caused serious concern in recent years. In January a group of 10 US Senators introduced legislation [JURIST report] aimed at implementing mandatory sanctions against Russia for its involvement in cyber hacking during the 2016 presidential election. In December the Manhattan US Attorney announced [JURIST report] charges against three foreign nationals for insider trading, wire fraud, intentional damage, unlawful access and related conspiracy acts. In October 2015, at the request of US government officials, Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] individual hackers that allegedly misappropriated commercial secrets from US firms with the intention to sell proprietary information to state-owned entities within the the People’s Republic of China. Earlier that year the US Securities and Exchange Commission indicted [JURIST report] an international web of hackers and traders who stole information from press releases prior to publication and traded on said information, making over $100 million in illegal profits. Also in 2015 the DOJ unsealed the indictment [JURIST report] of a Turkish man for allegedly organizing three cyber-attacks that led to an estimated $55 million in global losses.