July 13, 2018

Justice Department indicts 12 Russians for hacking Democratic files

Hit & Run - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just announced that a grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and arranging for the release of internal communications for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the 2016 election.

Eleven of the 12 Russian operatives are charged with either hacking into or "spearphishing" (sending emails to trick people into providing passwords) the computer networks of Democratic Party officials; spying on network activity and collecting information; and creating fictional personas to spread the information and conceal that the source was actually Russian officials with military intelligence agency GRU.

The 12th Russian operative (as well as one of the previous group of operatives) is charged with hacking into election-management systems on the state level, where that person is alleged to have stolen information about roughly 500,000 voters. Eleven of the 12 operatives are also charged with money laundering, as they are alleged to have used cryptocurrencies to fund their activities while concealing their connections to the Russian government; and with aggravated identity theft, for using peoples' names and passwords to commit fraud.

According to the indictment, Democratic Party organizations realized they had been hacked by May of 2016, and brought in a security company to purge the hackers. But the Russian operatives managed to remain in Democratic systems until October 2016.

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