The Justice Department has indicted six Russian GRU officers who were allegedly involved in hacking and malware operations.
On Monday, the Justice Department announced that six men have been charged with participating in a slew of hacking and malware deployment operations crimes to attack other countries’ infrastructure, elections and other actions all with the goal of furthering Russian business interests, Alexander Mallin of ABC News reports.
ABC News reports that the indictment directly accuses the six alleged hackers of engaging in computer intrusions. The DOJ wrote on its website that the GRU members “intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against or otherwise destabilize” Ukraine, Georgia, elections in France, the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games and international efforts to hold Russia accountable for its use of the nerve agent Novichok on foreign soil, the outlet reports via justice.gov.
“These GRU hackers and their co-conspirators engaged in computer intrusions and attacks intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilize: (1) Ukraine; (2) Georgia; (3) elections in France; (4) efforts to hold Russia accountable for its use of a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, on foreign soil; and (5) the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games after Russian athletes were banned from participating under their nation’s flag, as a consequence of Russian government-sponsored doping effort,” the statement reads.
The Justice Department added that several members from the same military group were also charged for their role in Russia’s meddling with the 2016 presidential election. During a virtual press conference, the DOJ said the hacking from the members is among “the most destructive and costly cyber-attacks in history,” dealing with “some of the world’s most destructive malware to date.”
These latest actions from Russia add to why Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers pushed for the U.S. to ignore Russia’s recent offer that called for a cyber “reset” between the two countries. “This indictment lays bare Russia’s use of its cyber capabilities to destabilize and interfere with the domestic political and economic systems of other countries, thus providing a cold reminder of why its proposal is nothing more than dishonest rhetoric and cynical and cheap propaganda,” Demers said.
As far as the U.S. having any evidence that proves GRU may have other plans to infiltrate or hack the upcoming presidential elections, Demers said, “With respect to the elections that are coming up, you know we haven’t seen anything that caused us to question what we’ve I think repeatedly said and what the intelligence community’s repeatedly said — that Americans should be confident that a vote for their candidate will be counted for that candidate,” Demers answered.