American justice launches proceedings against six hackers from Russian intelligence services

The mailboxes of several party executives On the march!  had been hacked in 2017.

Six Russian hackers have been indicted for their participation in some of the most successful hackers in recent years, the US Department of Justice said on Monday (October 19th). They are notably accused of hacking several email accounts of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign team in 2017, but also the dissemination of the virus destroyer NotPetya and a computer attack against the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018.

The six men, who can be considered indicted by the American justice system, are accused of being part of Russian military intelligence unit 74455, called “Sandworm” by most computer security researchers. American investigators believe that these Russian agents are at the origin of a series of high-level hacks, and in particular that, in the middle of the French presidential campaign in 2017, of the mailboxes of several executives of the En Marche! Party. The content of those emails had been posted online in the home stretch of the election, less than two days before the second round.

Emmanuel Macron’s party then denounced a “Massive and coordinated hacking action”. The cyber section of the Paris public prosecutor’s office had, the very next day, opened a preliminary investigation for computer hacking and breach of the secrecy of correspondence, entrusted to the investigation squad on fraud in information technology of the Paris Police Prefecture. . After this effervescence, and as Le World, the authorities had been very careful in the investigation that followed. Some sources indicated that the authorities had chosen to resolve the dispute through diplomatic channels.

Read our survey: Behind the scenes of the “MacronLeaks” hacking

The American investigators accuse in particular Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, already indicted in the United States for his role in the hacking of the emails of executives of the Democratic Party in 2016, of having carried out in France the following year a campaign “Several political parties, including that of Emmanuel Macron”, according to the indictment.

Several major cyber attacks

American justice also accuses these Russian agents of being at the origin of “The most destructive and costly cyberattack in history” : the NotPetya virus, which had blocked hundreds of thousands of computers around the world causing damage estimated at more than one billion euros in France alone. The virus, which initially appeared to target Ukrainian companies, quickly spread around the world; it locked access to files on infected machines.

The same group is also accused of a series of attacks against the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, operations carried out in retribution after the banning of several Russian athletes for doping.

Read also: The mysteries of “NotPetya”, fake ransomware but real destructive virus


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