Senior U.S. officials tell NBC News’ Pete Williams that millions of Yahoo email accounts were hacked with the backing of Russia, and the Justice Department is expected to announce an indictment Wednesday against two Russian intelligence officers.
Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general for the National Security Division, declined to offer specifics at a seminar Wednesday sponsored by the Financial Times. But DOJ officials have said the 11:30 a.m. news conference will disclose indictments of at least four people accused of carrying out the hack attacks on Yahoo, disclosed last year, that compromised more than one billion user accounts.
Other officials say the nation involved is Russia, and that two members of Russia’s FSB — one of its spy services — are among those charged in the Yahoo hack.
The hacks, in 2013 and 2014, involved names, phone numbers, dates of birth, and passwords along with answers to security questions that could be used to reset passwords.
The accused men live in Russia and Canada, the source said, with the Canadian far more likely to face arrest. Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States.
The two largest hacks, and Yahoo’s much-criticized slow response and disclosure, forced a discount of $350 million in what had been a $4.83 billion deal to sell Yahoo’s main assets to Verizon