Russian military officers charged in vast hacking campaign, including 2018 Winter Olympics

Russian military officers charged in vast hacking campaign, including 2018 Winter Olympics”

The U.S. Justice Department has charged six Russian military officers for launching cyberattacks against American hospitals and businesses, the French election and the 2018 Winter Olympics, an indictment unsealed Monday revealed. The worldwide body faced a scandal after whistleblowers revealed that a report blaming chemical attacks in Syria on the country's government omitted details that did not fall in line with the narrative pushed by the U.S. and the UK.

Russia rejected the United States indictment, calling the allegations "unproven", reported Russian news outlet RIA Novosti, citing a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers has claimed that "No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russian Federation, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite".

"No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russian Federation, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite", Demers said.

USA and United Kingdom officials also accused Russians of a hack of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony in South Korea, which compromised hundreds of computers, took down Internet access and disrupted broadcast feeds.

More than 250 athletes' medical records were published and confidential data from some of the world's biggest sports organizations - the Olympics, world track and field, Federation Internationale de Football Association - were stolen, in what USA prosecutors said was retaliation for the doping punishments.

"Their cyber attack combined the emotional maturity of a petulant child with the resources of a nation state", he said, adding that they attempted to pin it on North Korea.

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The alleged hackers are officers of the GRU, a military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Justice Department said.

The timing of the indictment was unrelated to the upcoming election in the US, said Assistant Attorney General John Demers. We have the tools to investigate these malicious malware attacks, identify the perpetrators, and then impose risks and consequences on them. That company, Heritage Valley Health System, had patient medical care disrupted because of the attack, prosecutors said.

In 2017, destructive NotPetya malware spread globally out of Ukraine, infecting and locking up thousands of computers belonging to corporations.

"The attack caused the unavailability of patient lists, patient history, physical examination files and laboratory records", DOJ said in a press release.

The six accused Russian intelligence officers.

The six GRU agents were also accused of staging a malware attack called "NotPetya" that infected computers of businesses worldwide causing almost $1 billion in losses to three USA companies alone. The charges in the case, which include wire fraud and conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, carry sentences ranging from five to 27 years in prison.

Rep. Jim Langevin, Rhode Island Democrat and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on intelligence, hailed the Justice Department for "building a solid case" against Russia's cyber activities.

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