Malware, spearphishing, and phony identities - indictment provides details of Russian hacking conspiracy

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Indicts 12 Russians for Hacking

That's the picture that the Justice Department painted in an indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly hacking into Democratic computers - and stealing information from a state election board - during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A dozen Russian intelligence officers are facing new USA federal indictments alleging they hacked into American computers with the explicit intention of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment of 12 Russian military officers for attempting to interfere with the 2016 US election revealed that a candidate for Congress sought information from Russia.

According to the indictment, the defendants, who are all members of the Russian intelligence arm GRU, attempted to interfere with the 2016 election by spear phishing volunteers and employees working for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Rosenstein, who laid out the allegations at a news conference that began while Trump was meeting with Queen Elizabeth in London, said he had briefed Trump earlier in the week and that the president was "fully aware" of the charges in the indictment.

These charges, however, come just days before Trump is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland.

"The defendants falsely claimed DCLeaks was American and that Guccifer 2.0 was a sole Romanian hacker", Rosenstein said.

Three other people, all unnamed in the indictment, also received documents from the Russians: A congressional candidate, who contacted the spies seeking damaging information on an opponent; a lobbyist who got information on Democratic donors; and a reporter who co-ordinated with the Russians on putting out information about Black Lives Matter.

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The indictments accuse officials from the GRU's so-called Unit 26165, which is dedicated to hacking and cryptoanalysis, of targeting DNC staff, stealing usernames and passwords, and using those credentials to gain a great foothold into the committee's email accounts and other systems.

Trump said he did not know who was orchestrating the election hacking but suggested it was "probably China", adding that if it was hypothetically Russian Federation intelligence, it would show their lack of reverence for the United States. The hackers also created false personas, popularly known as DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0, that were used to disseminate the stolen documents while disguising the campaign's Russian origins.

All 12 suspects allegedly worked for two divisions within the GRU, Russia's intelligence agency, the Justice Department said on Friday.

They corresponded with 'several Americans, ' he said, but the DOJ is not alleging htat any of them knew they were talking with Russian agents. "The goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election".

Thus far, none of the indictments by the Department of Justice or Special Counsel Robert Mueller have had anything to do with collusion with Russian Federation during the 2016 election. Trump has called the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt".

Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is in jail in Alexandria, Va., awaiting trial later this month on financial fraud charges stemming from activities that pre-dated the Trump campaign.

Trump's campaign walked back his comments and later said he was only joking.

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