The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the intrusion for two years, but it was only in late 2016 that the full scale of the hack became apparent. On Wednesday, the FBI indicted four people for the attack, two of whom are Russian spies. The hack affected half a billion accounts.
The US Government says, hackers targeted Yahoo accounts of officials for intelligence and financial gain. In September last year, Yahoo said hackers had managed to steal personal data on more than 500 million users during an attack in late 2014. The stolen data included names, email addresses, telephone numbers and hashed passwords. Blame for the attack was put on a “state-sponsored” group.
According to PC World : The Russian agents paid two criminal hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, to break into the Yahoo accounts and then steal information that could be used to further compromise other accounts, according to the FBI.
The hackers specifically targeted the Yahoo accounts of Russian and U.S. government officials, including those involved with cybersecurity, Russian journalists and financial services companies, the FBI said.
But they also attacked the accounts of regular users, looking for things like credit card numbers and gift cards that they could cash in.
“The FSB used hackers to gain information, some of which had intelligence value, but in doing so the criminal hackers used this opportunity to line their own pockets for financial gain,” said Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general, during a Washington, D.C., news conference.
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