US, UK Act Against Russian Hacker Group

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By Ketrin Agustine

US, UK Act Against Russian Hacker Group

The U.S. government on Thursday unveiled measures to combat Russian hackers accused of targeting U.S-based entities and individuals and meddling in a British election.

The cyber actors targeted include the Callisto group, also known as Star Blizzard or COLDRIVER, which engaged in espionage and is connected to Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, according to a statement released by U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Also, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against two Russian hackers, Andrey Stanislavovich Korinets and Ruslan Aleksandrovich Peretyatko, in connection with what the State Department called “a criminal hacking conspiracy that targeted U.S.-based entities and individuals, including U.S. Department of Energy facilities’ employees.”

Financial sanctions

In addition to the indictment, the U.S. Treasury announced it has imposed financial sanctions on Peretyatko and Korinets for their roles in malicious cyber-enabled activity.

Under the Rewards For Justice program, or RFJ, the U.S. offered unspecified rewards for information on the whereabouts of Peretyatko and Korinets.

A notice on the RFJ website says awards of up to $10 million can go to anyone who has information “leading to the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, engages in certain malicious cyber activities against U.S. critical infrastructure.”

Hackers also targeted individuals

The hackers, who the U.S. says worked in the Callisto Group, also targeted individuals based in the United Kingdom.

The U.S. noted concern about the hackers’ targeting of the U.K., which London described as a failed attempt to interfere with politics from Russian agents.

The U.K. sanctioned the two hackers in connection with the cyberattacks and summoned the Russian ambassador.

“I can confirm today that the Russian Federal Security Services, the FSB, is behind a sustained effort to interfere in our democratic processes,” British Junior Foreign Minister Leo Docherty said in a statement to lawmakers.

The hacking group has been known for years to target and attempt to hack personal emails from high-profile victims.

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