Analysis & Opinions - Lawfare

The Department of Justice Makes the Next Move in the U.S.-Russia Espionage Drama

| Mar. 16, 2017


"Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) released an indictment against four Russians in one of the most significant hacking-related law enforcement actions to date. According to the indictment, two criminals working at the behest of two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) hacked into Yahoo’s internal networks, compromised Yahoo user accounts, and used those compromises to pivot into accounts with other online services, including Google. The Yahoo compromise, involving half a billion accounts, made major news last year; the hack resulted in $250 million being shaved off Verizon’s acquisition price for that company.

This indictment has it all, from details of Russian espionage and tradecraft and connections to the criminal underworld, to an erectile-dysfunction-spam scheme and even an Aston Martin with a vanity license plate spelling “MR KARIM.” It is only the third indictment we can recall that alleges state-sponsored hacking, with the previous two coming against Chinese People’s Liberation Army officers and Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members.

Up front, the story here is not about the long arm of American law bringing ne’er-do-wells to justice..."

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For Academic Citation: Snyder, Charley and Michael Sulmeyer.“The Department of Justice Makes the Next Move in the U.S.-Russia Espionage Drama.” Lawfare, March 16, 2017.