The US charged six current and former members of Russia’s military intelligence agency for allegedly carrying out some of the world’s most destructive and sophisticated hacking attacks from 2015 to 2019, including knocking out Ukraine’s power grid and causing almost $1 billion in damages to three American companies alone.
The hackers allegedly carried out attacks against the 2017 elections in France and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, according to an indictment unsealed by the Justice Department on Monday.
“Their computer attacks used some of the world’s most destructive malware to date,” the department said.
“According to the indictment, beginning in or around November 2015 and continuing until at least in or around October 2019, the defendants and their co-conspirators deployed destructive malware and took other disruptive actions, for the strategic benefit of Russia, through unauthorized access to victim computers,” the department said.
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The hackers allegedly spread the NotPetya malware, which damaged computers used for critical infrastructure, including impairing the administration of medical services by a hospital system in Pennsylvania.
“The attack caused the unavailability of patient lists, patient history, physical examination files, and laboratory records,” according to the department.
None of the charges involved the current US presidential campaign, although the FBI and other agencies say Russia continues trying to interfere in US politics.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, said in the Justice Department statement.