Two Russian spies have been charged in the United States over a massive breach of Yahoo, reports the BBC.
The US Justice Department announced on Wednesday that charges have been brought in relation to the 2014 attack which targeted around 500 million Yahoo accounts. Baratov and the three others have been indicted for computer hacking and economic espionage in what officials called one of the largest data breaches in history.
Besides orchestrating the breach, the indictment alleged that Yahoo accounts accessed without authorisation were used to launch a spam campaign. "We are deeply grateful to the FBI for investigating these crimes and the DOJ for bringing charges against those responsible".
"As well, the United Kingdom's MI5 made substantial contributions to the advancement of this investigation also".
Around 500 million Yahoo users had their information accessed in the attack, which began in 2014, but continued until late past year.
"The defendants include two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), an intelligence and law enforcement agency of the Russian Federation and two criminal hackers with whom they conspired to accomplish these intrusions, " said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord.
Mr Abbate said the aim of the alleged theft was to enable the alleged perpetrators to carry out fraud schemes for their own personal financial gain and enrichment.
"We have said repeatedly that there can be no discussion of any official involvement of any Russian office, including the FSB, being involved in any unlawful cyber activities", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The internet company was condemned for a delay in informing users about the breach, which it said saw a raft of data stolen including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and encrypted passwords, but not credit card details.