July 16, 2018
The US Justice Department has declared criminal charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers linked to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 US presidential election canvassing.
The allegations were drawn up as part of the inquiry of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election by Robert Mueller, the Extraordinary Counsel, and ex FBI director.
The charges against 12 Russian military officials were declared by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during a DoJ press conference on Friday—only 3 days prior to the Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s planned meeting with President Donald Trump.
All 12 Russian officials are members of the country’s GRU military spying unit and are charged with performing “large-scale cyber operations” to hack into DNC network and thieve Democrats’ electronic mails to affect the 2016 presidential election.
The accusations charged that the election hacking aimed Hillary Clinton’s drive, DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), with an objective to circulate that information online under the name DNCLeaks.
Nevertheless, Rosenstein said the charges didn’t accuse that the cyberattacks eventually affected vote count or altered the result of the 2016 election.
As per the charges, Guccifer 2.0, who impersonated as a sole hacker from Romania and delivered confidential files hacked from the DNC server, and a website that disclosed files under the name DCLeaks was functioned by a Russian hacking team called “Unit 74455.”
The team allegedly used Bitcoin to buy purchasing servers (containing the one in Malaysia to host the DCLeaks website), recording domains and then making payments in furtherance of hacking action.
The charges include 11 illegal counts:
One count for a criminal plan to carry out a crime against the U.S. by way of cyber actions by the GRU that involved the staged release of thieved documents to meddle with the 2016 presidential election.
Two counts through nine charge intensified identity thievery for using identification pertaining to eight victims to further their computer deception scheme.
Ten counts for a plan to legalize money in which the offenders legalized the equivalent of over $95,000 by transmitting the funds used to buy servers and fund other costs linked to their hacking activities via cryptocurrencies similar to Bitcoin.
Eleven counts for a plan to commit a crime against the U.S. by trying to hack into the computers of state panels of elections, secretaries of state, and US businesses that provided software and other tech linked to the administration of polls.
Even though the offenders declared to be “American hacktivists” on the DCLeaks website, the charges note that no American was a knowing member in any related activity or knew they were cooperating with Russian intelligence officers.