Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Security Management

10/5/2018
08:05 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

7 Russian Spies Indicted in US for Hacking Anti-Doping Agencies

The Justice Department has indicted seven Russian spies for attempting to hack into and spread false information about anti-doping agencies. It appears to be a retaliatory campaign following the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

The US Justice Department has indicted seven Russian spies, charging them with attempting to hack into and spread false information about several anti-doping agencies in the US, Canada and elsewhere, that were investigating wrongdoing by Russian athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The seven indicted Russians face an array of charges, including computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

All seven are suspected of being part of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU, which is the military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, according to the October 4 indictment.

In addition to the charges in the US, several countries in Europe, including the UK, also accused Russia on Thursday of launching cyber attacks against different intuitions on the continent that were actively looking at Russian interference, according to several media reports .

"The actions of these seven hackers, all working as officials for the Russian government, were criminal, retaliatory, and damaging to innocent victims and the United States' economy, as well as to world organizations," FBI Director Christopher Wray wrote in a statement released Thursday.

Of the seven Russian indicted in the US, Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, 41, Evgenii Mikhaylovich Serebriakov, 37, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, 32, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, 30, and Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, 27, were all believed to be assigned to Military Unit 26165, which is the part of the Russian military that attempted to interfere in the 2016 Presidential Election. (See 12 Russian Nationals Indicted in 2016 Hacking of DNC, Clinton Campaign.)

Two other men, Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov, 46, and Alexey Valerevich Minin, 46, are believed to be GRU officers assigned to other divisions.

Thursday's indictment in the US stems from an investigation launched during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. During this time, it was suspected that Russian athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs during the games.

Two years later, international anti-doping agencies began releasing reports, including the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Independent Person Report, which lead to Russian athletes being banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

It was during this time, according to the indictment, that the Russian agents began hacking into the network infrastructure of these various anti-doping agencies. For example, when the WADA held a conference in Switzerland, spies used specialized equipment to tap into the WiFi networks at the hotels and conference rooms that officials used in order to steal credentials and spy on individuals.

At another point, the group tried to access Canadian authorities' data by using stolen credentials and special equipment designed to reveal hashed passwords.

In addition to high-tech equipment, the spies used an array of non-technical methods, such as spear-phishing campaigns based on personal research, to lure victims into giving away passwords and credentials. The group also used proxy servers and monitored malware command and control servers to help gather additional intelligence.

As the spies gathered information, they began to try to disseminate stolen data from these accounts under the name of the "Fancy Bears' Hack Team." This included information on various agencies, as well as other athletes from different countries. This group contacted over 180 different reporters in an effort to spread false information stemming from the stolen data, and then use a series of social media accounts to help amplify any stories that were produced or written about the hacked agencies.

Each of the seven indicted Russians is charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carry maximum sentences of 20 years.

Five of the seven also face charges of aggravated identity theft. Finally, one of the indicted spies, Yermakov, is also charged with five counts of wire fraud. However, none of the spies are under arrest and its doubtful that Russia will hand them over to US authorities.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/17/2020
Cybersecurity Bounces Back, but Talent Still Absent
Simone Petrella, Chief Executive Officer, CyberVista,  9/16/2020
Meet the Computer Scientist Who Helped Push for Paper Ballots
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/16/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-14180
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Service Desk Server and Data Center allow remote attackers authenticated as a non-administrator user to view Project Request-Types and Descriptions, via an Information Disclosure vulnerability in the editform request-type-fields resource. The affected versions are...
CVE-2020-14177
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote attackers to impact the application's availability via a Regex-based Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability in JQL version searching. The affected versions are before version 7.13.16; from version 7.14.0 before 8.5.7; from versio...
CVE-2020-14179
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-21
Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to view custom field names and custom SLA names via an Information Disclosure vulnerability in the /secure/QueryComponent!Default.jspa endpoint. The affected versions are before version 8.5.8, and from...
CVE-2020-25789
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-19
An issue was discovered in Tiny Tiny RSS (aka tt-rss) before 2020-09-16. The cached_url feature mishandles JavaScript inside an SVG document.
CVE-2020-25790
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-19
** DISPUTED ** Typesetter CMS 5.x through 5.1 allows admins to upload and execute arbitrary PHP code via a .php file inside a ZIP archive. NOTE: the vendor disputes the significance of this report because "admins are considered trustworthy"; however, the behavior "contradicts our secu...