The suspects allegedly worked for Russia’s intelligence agency. In addition to the DNC hack, they also breached a state election board site and stole data on 500,000 voters.
The US has indicted 12 Russian military officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee and other targets and leaking the stolen materials during the 2016 presidential election.
All 12 suspects allegedly worked for two divisions within the GRU, Russia’s intelligence agency, the Justice Department said on Friday. One group was devoted to hacking the victims, the other was focused on leaking the materials online.
These Russians created internet personas—Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks—which falsely claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker and a group started by a group of American hackers, respectively.
Russian officers transferred the stolen materials to “another organization,” without naming it, a likely reference to WikiLeaks, DOJ says. In addition, the suspects hacked the website of a state election board and stole information on 500,000 voters.
“The goal of the conspiracy was to have an impact on the election,” US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a Friday press conference.
The indictments come from the US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who’s been charged with investigating any suspected links between Russians and officials with President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The Russian officers allegedly used spearphishing emails to trick their victims into giving up their passwords. They also hacked into computer networks to plant malware that could spy on users by capturing keystrokes, taking screenshots. All the data they stole was then eventually leaked.
“The conspirators corresponded with several Americans through the internet. There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers,” Rosenstein said.