(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- The United States government has charged six military intelligence officers from Russia in connection with various high-profile cyberattacks.
According to federal prosecutors, the cyberattacks in question include targeting the 2017 French elections, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and Ukraine’s electrical power grid. These attacks were detailed in an indictment 50 pages long filed in Pittsburgh federal court.
Members of the GRU, the name of the Russian military intelligence agency, apparently undertook the cyberattacks over the last five years. The Department of Justice said the hacking campaign was the “most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks” that one group had ever committed.
Jon Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, announced the charges in a statement, saying:
“No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite.”
“Destructive malware” was deployed as part of the cyberattacks undertaken by the officers of the Russian intelligence agency. They began at least as far back as November 2015, continuing through October 2019 at the least. They were done to support Russia’s efforts to retaliate against and undermine any foreign nation and organization in the world that opposed it.
The attacks on Ukraine’s power grid occurred in both 2015 and 2016. The 2017 attacks on the French elections targeted the political party of President Emmanuel Macron. The 2018 attacks on the Winter Olympics were done after athletes from Russia were banned from competing because of a doping scandal.
The malware deployed is known as NotPetya, and it led to U.S. businesses losing almost $1 billion. The malware infected computers at a U.S. drug manufacturer, a FedEx subsidiary, as well as medical facilities and hospitals in Pennsylvania.
Damage to computer networks around the world was caused by the malware attacks, the DOJ said. This includes networks in France, South Korea, Ukraine, the U.K., the U.S., the Netherlands and Georgia.
The six people who have been charged are all Russian nationals who are members of Unit 74455. They are all charged with seven counts in total, which include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse.
Those charged include Sergey Vladimirovich Detistov, who is 35 years old; Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, who is 32 years old; Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, who is 29 years old; Pavel Valeryevich Frolov, who is 28 years old; Petr Nikolayevich Pliskin, who is 32 years old; and Artem Valeryevich Ochichenko, who is 27 years old.
While U.S. intelligence agencies found the GRU to be involved in past efforts to meddle in the U.S. presidential election back in 2016, the indictment filed Tuesday does not include any charges related to meddling in the 2020 presidential election.
David Bowdich, the deputy director of the FBI, said:
“Time and again, Russia has made it clear: They will not abide by accepted norms, and instead, they intend to continue their destructive, destabilizing cyber behavior.”