There is no doubt that the 2014 Yahoo hacking incident that was found to expose 500 million user accounts was a major disappointment and tragedy for the users affected by the massive data breach. Not only did Yahoo keep the hacking incident from the public for a couple of years, but the hackers responsible for the attack are looking to face serious charges as the US Department of Justice is coming down on the four individuals hard.
Just this week, the US Department of Justice made an announcement just after rumors of an indictment that they have criminally charged Russian officials for the cyber attack on Yahoo that took place in 2014 and expose 500 million user accounts.
2014 Yahoo Data Breach Was Work of Russian Spies and Hackers
Two individuals, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, are being identified as officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor of the KGB, and two hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, are all being charged with the Yahoo hack.
Because there is no extradition treaty between Russia and the United States, three of the individuals currently located in Russia, Belan, Dokuchaev, and Sushchin, will not ever see a trial in the US. However, Karin Baratrov, who has been arrested on Canadian territories, looks to face charges if authorities have their way.
US officials believed firmly that the attack on Yahoo was in an effort for FSB to collect intelligence. The indictment states that the hackers wrote authentication cookies used on their own computers and pushed the fake ones out to users that they wanted to target. Ultimately, the Department of Justice was able to monitor over 6,500 accounts using these specific techniques leading them to the Russian spies and hackers responsible for the initial attack.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said that, "The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI's point of contact in Moscow on cyber crime matters, is beyond the pale."
Yahoo's Flounders Could Help Thwart Future Cyber Attacks
Even though Yahoo waited to reveal that they had been hacked and data of over 500 million user accounts was breached, the suspect was always state-backed actors, which turned out to be true with the face of Russian attackers.
In making matters somewhat worse, Yahoo revealed that in December 2016 they had faced another data breach back in 2013 that may have affected 1 billion accounts.
The matters of hacking US entities have been on the minds of the US government and public in a time where there is a major concern over Russians infiltrating systems and data in the US. Not to mention, the 2016 US Presidential election cycle was strife with Russian hacking allegations and continue to be a talking head matter well into Trump's presidency.
In allowing the Yahoo hacking incident to be a lesson, there is a chance that the US Department of Justice will uncover additional findings that lead them down a dark alley to find additional perpetrators of hacking cases, not just the Yahoo case with its delay in the revelation of what took place.