US Department of Justice announces hacking charges against 7 Russian intelligence officers linked to the Olympic doping scandal and the Skripal poisoning

Dutch Ministry of Defence/YouTubeThe Russian Security officers charged with allegedly hacking the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
  • The Department of Justice announced criminal charges against seven officers of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit.
  • The defendants were charged for allegedly hacking a number of anti-doping agencies and chemical weapons inspectors.
  • They were charged with crimes including conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
  • The DOJ’s announcement came following a coordinated condemnation of the alleged GRU hacking from the UK and the Netherlands.

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced criminal charges against seven Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking multiple international anti-doping agencies and chemical weapons inspectors.

“The conspiracy conducted persistent and sophisticated computer intrusions affecting U.S. persons, corporate entities, international organisations, and their respective employees located around the world, based on their strategic interest to the Russian government,” the DOJ said in a press release.

The defendants are charged with a number of federal crimes including conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. They are accused of hacking anti-doping agencies in the United States in Canada and leaking Olympic athletes’ drug test results; targeting chemical weapons inspectors investigating Russia’s alleged poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal; and “spearfishing” hacks on employees of the Westinghouse Electric Company in Pennsylvania.

The US charges follow a coordinated condemnation from the UK and the Netherlands, which slammed the GRU’s “reckless” behaviour in allegedly targeting inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, and hacking the independent investigation into the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine.

“This attempt, to access the secure systems of an international organisation working to rid the world of chemical weapons, demonstrates again the GRU’s disregard for the global values and rules that keep us all safe,” British Prime Minister Theresa May and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a joint statement Thursday.

The DOJ said that while Thursday’s indictment did not come as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, three of the GRU officers named in the latest indictment were also charged in July with hacking into the Democratic National Committee.

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