Tuesday, October 19, 2021

US indicts 7 Russians for hacking anti-doping agencies

Washington, Oct 4 (EFE).- The United States on Thursday indicted seven purported members of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service for hacking anti-doping agencies in an attempt to undermine international efforts to expose Russian athlete doping.

“Among the goals of the conspiracy was to publicize stolen information as part of an influence and disinformation campaign designed to undermine, retaliate against, and otherwise delegitimize the efforts of international anti-doping organizations and officials,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a press conference that these hacking and disinformation campaigns represent “serious threats” to the country’s security.

“Today we are indicting seven GRU officers for multiple felonies each, including the use of hacking to spread the personal information of hundreds of anti-doping officials and athletes as part of an effort to distract from Russia’s state-sponsored doping program,” Sessions said.

John Demers (L), assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice National Security Division, announces criminal charges against seven Russian Federation GRU intelligence officers in Washington, DC, USA, 04 October 2018. The group, which includes several agents recently arrested at The Hague, are charged with hacking individuals and organizations in the United States, Canada and Europe. Those organizations include several anti-doping agencies, chemical weapons enforcement, and Westinghouse, according to the indictment. EFE

The doping scandal, which affected 1,000 athletes in 30 sports, led numerous Russian athletes to be banned, while others were not allowed to compete under their national flag or to hear their national anthem if they won, and some were even stripped of their Olympic medals.

According to the indictment, from December 2014 to May 2018, the alleged conspirators conducted “persistent and sophisticated computer intrusions affecting US persons, corporate entities, international organizations, and their respective employees located around the world.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the seven purported hackers carried out these actions “as officials for the Russian government,” adding that the hacking was “damaging to innocent victims and the United States’ economy, as well as to world organizations.”

US authorities identified the seven alleged hackers as Aleksei Sergeyevich Morenets, Evgenii Mikhaylovich Serebriakov, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Oleg Mikhaylovich Sotnikov and Alexey Valerevich Minin.

Three of those men were previously charged in July as a result of the investigation into alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.