Belan reportedly stole all or part of Yahoo's user database, which acts as a registry of all the information associated with user accounts. There is a new twist in the story. "But thanks to the tireless efforts of USA prosecutors and investigators, as well as our Canadian partners, today we have identified four individuals, including two Russian FSB officers, responsible for unauthorized access to millions of users' accounts". They just don't say it; they have proof along with them. This occurred when those people gave a Gmail account as an option email to Yahoo!. He manipulated the Yahoo search engine to steer those who are seeking any information.
According to the U.S. officials, the charges were brought against two FSB operatives and two hackers they had cooperated with.
The attacks, first revealed by Yahoo in September, had also threatened to derail Verizon's planned acquisition of a large portion of Yahoo's business.
McCord said the hacking campaign was waged by the FSB to collect intelligence but that the two hackers used the collected information as an opportunity to "line their pockets".
The indictment accuses Sushchin and Dokuchaev of disregarding an Interpol Red Notice for the detention of Belan, who was placed on the FBI's list of most wanted cyber criminals in 2013.
They are the FSB individuals.
Text messages sent to Baratov's cell phone and a call to his home weren't answered. The other motive was financial gain for the criminal hackers, authorities said. The indictment laid out a complicated operation. Had Yahoo taken more aggressive steps - for instance, asking users to change their passwords, or even expiring the passwords and forcing users to enter new ones - it might have prevented some of the damage. In 2014 Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a "red notice". Instead of arresting Belan, however, the FSB recruited him to help with cyber espionage and provided tools to evade detection from other authorities. Because he had charges of stealing data from three e-commerce firms and sold the information.
Another notable wrinkle in the entire case was the fact that Dokuchaev, himself a hacker who had been forced to work for the FSB after being arrested in 2005 for credit card fraud, has been arrested in December 2016 for high treason, and charged with supplying secrets to foreign governments, including the US.
However, Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, dismissed out of hand the idea that FSB employees could have been involved in the Yahoo hack. It also included data which is critical to forging the "cookies" and files that can track the users' browsing activities. Companies like Yahoo typically use bits of data called cookies to let you stay signed into an account via a web browser.
Belan later gained unauthorized access to Yahoo's network that he shared with FSB, the indictment said. To Yahoo, it then appeared that a hacker was the authorised user. The disclosure caused a change in the deal with Verizon as we mentioned in our previous article.
The company's lawyer Ronald Bell has resigned over the affair and Marissa Meyer, who lost her bonus is now leaving the company but with a United States $23 million severance package.
A Yahoo board investigation recently blamed the breach on the "failure in communication, management, internal reporting, and inquiry".