UPDATE 1:09 PM CST – MSN reports the Justice Department has announced that two Russian intelligence agents who were supposed to help the U.S. in its search for hackers instead broke into 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. The Russian government then used the information they obtained to focus on foreign officials, business executives and journalists, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors unsealed an indictment containing 47 criminal charges against the two agents, who worked for Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., as well as two outside hackers with whom they worked with on the scheme.
Reports from from Bloomberg and Reuters on Wednesday indicate the United States Justice Department will announce indictments on Wednesday against suspects in the Yahoo data breaches. Yahoo suffered two hacks, affecting over 1.5 billion users.
Bloomberg’s source asked not to be identified “because it was a sensitive legal matter.” The hacks were revealed last year, as negotiations for the sale of Yahoo’s web operations to Verizon Communications Inc. were ongoing.
Suspects Reside in Canada and Russia
The suspects are said to live in Canada and Russia. One suspect is said to reside in Canada, while three are currently in Russia. The Canadian suspect is more likely to be facing charges than the Russian suspects, due to Russia’s lack of an extradition treaty with the U.S.
The U.S. is arresting one of the people in Canada as soon as Tuesday, the person said. Three of the people are currently in Russia, this person said. Representatives of Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo and the Justice Department declined to comment.
Reuters reports that it could not immediately be learned whether the group was suspected in the hacking of data about 1 billion users, or a separate hack of 500 million email accounts.
Suspects Possibly Behind 2014 Breach
The Bloomberg report reports the suspects were the ones behind the Yahoo hack that took place in 2014, exposing the user data of 500 million users. The breach was originally believed to be a “State sponsored act.”
The two hacks, and Yahoo’s being slow to move in response to the attacks and their reluctance to disclose them, saw the company being forced to offer a discount of $350 million in what had been a $4.83 billion deal to sell Yahoo’s main assets to Verizon Communications Inc.