US Response to DNC Hack Targets One of the Most Notorious Russian Cybercriminals

It's unclear whether this means the hackers are suspects in the DNC hack.

Dec 30 2016, 2:39pm


On Thursday, the US publicly responded to Russia's likely hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations. The US has ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the country, the New York Times reports.

The US has also imposed sanctions on a series of individuals and organizations. As it turns out, some of those are against already infamous Russian cybercriminals, although the sanctions may be more symbolic than anything else.

According to an announcement from the US Department of the Treasury, the government added groups such as Zor Security—a Russian cybersecurity company that appears to sell hacking tools and possibly computer exploits—to sanction lists, as well as senior members of Russian intelligence agency GRU.

But some other names immediately jump out, such as Evgeniy Mikhaylovich Bogachev, otherwise known as lucky12345. Bogachev is the alleged operator of the now-disrupted GameOver Zeus botnet, which has been used to steal banking credentials and other information from personal computers.

Bogachev, who still has a $3 million information bounty on his head, has long been suspected of having ties to the Russian government and its espionage campaigns. Michael Sandee, principal security expert at cybersecurity company Fox-IT, told Forbes last year he found that Bogachev or one of his customers was seeking out information related to foreign intelligence agencies in Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

However, it is not clear whether these latest sanctions are supposed to mean that the US suspects Bogachev was actually involved in the attacks on the DNC, or whether it was more of a strike against an already known target. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also included in the sanction list is Alexsey Belan, currently wanted by the FBI for charges of computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, and fraud in connection with a computer. There is currently a $100,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.