DOJ charges Russian intel officers in cyber attacks affecting U.S., France, Ukraine, others

DOJ charges Russian intel officers in cyber attacks affecting U.S., France, Ukraine, others

[Ed. – These attacks were made by the GRU — Russian military intelligence — in 2017 and 2018 (the dates given for some of the attacks).  The attacks in question didn’t affect the U.S. 2016 election.  However, it’s of interest that an attack in Ukraine is included.  Outlining that attack could lay the groundwork for distinguishing clearly between it and the Russian attack alleged by CrowdStrike on Ukrainian military forces, which was the example used to justify concluding that the same GRU operatives intruded on Democratic IT systems in 2016.  Although civilian experts have already impugned CrowdStrike’s analysis, additional work on GRU attacks, including in Ukraine, could strengthen the basis for dismissing that example.]

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against Russian intelligence officers in a string of global cyberattacks that targeted a French presidential election, the Winter Olympics in South Korea and American businesses. The case implicates the same Kremlin unit that interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, but is not related to the November vote.

The indictment accuses the six defendants, all said to be current and former officers in the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU, of hacks that prosecutors say were aimed at furthering the Kremlin’s geopolitical interests and in destabilizing or punishing perceived enemies. All told, the attacks caused billions of dollars in losses and disrupted a broad cross-section of life, including health care in Pennsylvania, a power grid serving hundreds of thousands of customers in Ukraine and a French election that saw the late-stage disclosure of hacked emails.

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